WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
A Study of the Society and Personality
Development of the Pine Ridge Sioux
With the collaboration of
ROYAL B. HASSRICK
WILLIAM E. HENRY
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
CHICAGO . ILLINOIS
University of Chicago Press Chicago 37
Agent; Cambridge University Press London
Copyright 1946 by The University of Chicago. All rights
reserved. Published 1946. Composed and printed by the
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, U.S. A,
THE SCHOOL CHILDREN OF
PINE RIDGE RESERVATION
'EE f\\ I\DIA.\ EDUCATION RESEARCH
- t -;, r ..., ; , \i ;,-- Qffce f*f Indian. Affairs
\\\ LLO^D \V-\RMF. I*. ;:^7f, JOHN COLLIER, Chairman
R'-Eiki T- H\vr,HT K?T WILLARD W. BEATTY
RAIPH T^LIR RENE D'HARNONCOURT
LAT-RA THOMPSON, C^-ordinator
SIOUX PROJECT STAFF
GORDON MACGREGOR, Supervisor
ROYAL HASSRICK, Field Assistant
JOSEPH CAR RANG , M.D.
FRANCES DAVIDSON, R.X.
GERALDINE D. DIAZ
IMOGENE B. DOGEAGLE
MARTIN MCNEIL, M.D.
LIZZIE B. MESTETH
THEODORE SADOCK, M.D.
EVELYN WHIRLWIND HORSE
ROYAL H ASS RICK
Thematic Apperception (adapted)
WILLIAM E. HENRY
Grace Arthur Performance
ROBERT J. HAVIGHURST
RHEA R. HILKEVITCH
ROBERT J. HAVIGHURST
ROBERT J. HAVIGHURST
ROBERT J. HAVIGHURST
ROMA K. McNiCKLE, Editor
FRED EGG AN
ERIK HOUBURGER ERIKSON
A. IRVING HALLOWELL
JEAN WALKER MACFARLANE
ROBERT S. PLATT
* Deceased September 21 , 1 944.
f ^HE conviction of racial and religious superiority which has characterized
I the white man in his contact with races of other colors is not uniquely a
JL white man's characteristic. Each Indian group as well as every other racial
unit around the world has thought of itself as the chosen people and frequently
has so designated itself in the tribal name with which it refers to the <k in-group."
Therefore, in almost every conflict the successful warriors considered that they
were dispossessing a less able, a less cultivated, a less worthy rival; and sometimes
as a result of this attitude they destroyed their adversaries or enslaved them,
forcing an acceptance of the dominant customs. Yet it is certain that never before
white dominance in the United States began were the many Indian groups subject
to a continuous suppression by a technologically superior alien race suppression
working, by intention, in one direction through centuries. The results of such
suppression in one group of Indians are described in this volume.
One of the major contributions of democratic philosophy has been increased
concern with the well-being of the individual. The declaration of human rights
which characterized the democratic revolution both in Europe and in America
carried implications with regard to personal values such as rarely before had
entered into human planning. It is probably natural that the extension of this
concern about the effect on human beings of gross and ruthless modifications of
individual and group life should be extended to a "subject people" considerably
later than to the members of the dominant society. To those of us whose profes-
sions presuppose the importance of the individual and the need for continuing
knowledge of individual reactions to the interplay of social forces, it is difficult to
justify the operation of an agency like the Indian Service, whose major concern
is people, without the basic information about these people that psychological and
anthropological research alone can make available.
The basic research of which this report on the Sioux is but one part, while long
delayed, nevertheless marks a new and important departure in our dealing with
the Indians of the United States. No single document reporting on a small seg-
ment of the Indian people can of itself be ,of great significance. As indication,
however, of a new kind of thinking about a group of people which may be pre-
liminary to new and constructive planning regarding federal service for these
people, this volume and the other reports of this project may be of far greater
importance than they first appear. In the cataclysm of this second World War it
8 \VARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
may *ccm incongruous that agencies of the American government should be
greatly concerned as to the impact of our white culture upon a minority group
(the Sioux) numbering less than thirty thousand souls. We have just witnessed
millions of people in Europe and Asia whose lives have been disrupted and whose
economic and cultural patterns have been ruthlessly destroyed. In the face of
forces whose origins we are at a loss to understand and whose energies we are
unable to control, why at this time should we be concerned with an analysis of
what has happened and is happening in the lives of a few thousand Sioux In-
dians? The major answer is that, in addition to being important to the Indians
themselves, this study may also aid in pointing the way to a wiser and better
pattern of relationship between all people and may teach us how to conserve
human values rather than destroy them.
The author of this volume, Dr. Gordon Macgregor, also supervised the field
work and analysis of the results of the Sioux study of the Indian Education
Research Project. He is an experienced anthropologist who has been in the Indian
Service for eight years, formerly as assistant anthropologist in the Applied An-
thropology Unit and as supervisor of education in the Division of Education and
now as superintendent of the Tongue River Indian Agency, Montana.
Dr. Macgregor was assisted by two collaborators: Royal B. Hassrick, an anthro-
pologist, formerly research secretary and executive director of the American
Association on Indian Affairs and now with the Foreign Morale Analysis Divi-
sion, Office of War Information; and Dr. William E. Henry, a psychologist on
the staff of the Committee on Human Development and the Department of
Anthropology of the University of Chicago.
Director of Education
Office of Indian Affairs
Jaauaiy 15, 1945
f SHIS volume is the second of five integrative studies of Indian personality
I produced as part of the Indian Education Research Project, which was
JL undertaken jointly by the Committee on Human Development of the
University of Chicago and the United States Office of Indian Affairs. 1
The objective of this project was to investigate, analyze, and compare the devel-
opment of personality in the Sioux, Hopi, Navaho, Papago, and Zuni tribes in the
context of the total environmental setting sociocultural, geographical, and histor-
ical for implications in regard to Indian Service administration. The project is
the first step in a long-range plan of research, the ultimate aim of which is to
attempt a systematic evaluation of the whole Indian administrative program with
special reference to the effect of the new Indian Service policy on the Indians as
individuals, to indicate the direction toward which these policies are leading, and
to suggest how the effectiveness of Indian administration may be increased.
Since its inception in 1941, the research has progressed experimentally, under
the supervision of the research committee of the University of Chicago, through
the co-operative efforts of a large staff drawn from several disciplines chiefly an-
thropology, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, linguistics, education, and
administration. The specialists have brought their techniques to bear integratively
on the manifold aspects of the task, namely, the development of methodology, the
training of field workers, the field work, the analysis of field data, and the inter-
pretation of results. Out of these efforts there has emerged a method of socio-
psychological analysis which has been applied, within the limits of the available
data, funds, and time, to the five selected Indian tribes.
The first field problem was to investigate the development of the personalities
of a sample of about a thousand children, six to eighteen years old, selected by age
groups so as to represent two or more communities in each of the tribes, in the
context of the total environmental setting. The systematic study of individual per-
sonalities was limited to children of school age because of their greater accessibility
in regard to the testing program. The personalities and life-hisiories of these
children were studied by means of a battery of psychological tests of both the
projective and the performance types, supplemented by interviews with parents,
teachers, and other community members and by medical examinations. Most of
the testing and interviewing was done by Indian Service teachers, and it was
supervised by members of the research staff. Tests requiring highly trained techni-
10 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
cians for their administration, such as the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception
(adapted;, and medical examinations, were given by staff specialists.
The data concerning the present Sioux culture were obtained chiefly through
field work initiated and carried out by the project personnel, but information on
the physical environment and history have been drawn mainly from the literature,
both published and unpublished. AJ1 the psychological data were analyzed at the
University of Chicago by members of the research staff. The statements and con-
clusions arc those of the author and are not necessarily indorsed by the University
of Chicago or the Office of Indian Affairs.
THE SIOUX STUDY
In the development of Indian Service programs since 1933, especially in eco-
nomic rehabilitation, there have arisen several baffling and superficially inex-
plicable problems of acceptance and adjustment by the Indians. The Pine Ridge
Agency has been particularly interested in having some analysis of Sioux behavior
in order to advance the rehabilitation program with greater ease to the Indians.
At this agency's request one study of the Indian Education Research Project was
made on Pine Ridge Reservation.
This research was carried on in three areas selected on the basis of their rela-
tionship to white life: Kyle, Wanblee, and Pine Ridge town. Kyle, in which the
major part of the work was conducted, is actually a district of several native com-
munities which have a common center and school in Kyle village. Families from
six of these communities were included in the study. They live in completely
rural areas and, although a few white farmers live among them, are not under
great pressure from, or in intimate relationship with, whites. These communities
are fairly representative of the reservation in their life, economic status, and extent
of admixture with white people.
Wanblee is a farmer's market town which boomed with the great wheat market
of World War L Most of its white population left during the depression of the
1930's, and in 1942 the majority of the population were Indians, many of whom
had moved into town from near-by rural areas because they were not working
their farms or because they wished to send their children to the local Indian
school The racial composition of this Indian community is very similar to that of
die Kyle group: a few families with very little Indian blood are townspeople, and
many of predominantly Indian blood belong to the rural, rather than the town,
population- The only significant difference between the Indians living in the
country and those living in the Indian camp at Wanblee is the latter group's
greater dependency upon direct relief as a means of living.
Different in composition is the third community, Pine Ridge town, in which the
Indian Agency is located Here the majority of the Indians are mixed-bloods.
These families, most of whom live by wage work, follow in their homes and so-
ciety the local white way of life to a considerable extent. Their relationships, and
probably their intermarriage, with whites are more frequent than for any other
group of Indians on the reservation.
In order to determine the nature of Sioux personality, 200 children, aged six to
eighteen years, were selected at random from the three Indian day schools and
one public school in the three areas of study and psychological testing. The only
limitations placed upon the selection of names from the school census were that
there should be obtained the same representation of white blood admixture as in
the total resident reservation population, an equal division between boys and girls,
and an equal distribution among four age groups. It was impossible to obtain
sufficient life-history information or tests on a number of these 200 children, so
that the actual sample on which the personality section of this book is based was
Degree of Blood
Three -fourths Indian blood
One-half Indian blood
One-fourth Indian blood
Less than one-fourth Indian blood ....
reduced to 166. Of this total, the representation by blood group is shown in
Table 1. The boys and girls were distributed by selected age groups, as listed in
Information about these children was obtained through tests and interviews
with the children, their parents, their teachers, and other persons in their com-
munities. The tests used are described in Part III and in Appendix I. The results
were analyzed to present a picture of the group personality of the children; dif-
ferences between children in the four age groups and between boys and girls
were also noted. Interviews were used to obtain voluntary information about each
child's health, his early training, his relations with the members of his household
and his community, and his behavior and interests. By setting all the information
gathered through tests and interviews against the background o the community
and the reservation, the influence of the children's social and economic situation
upon their personalities and their reactions to the situation could be seen.
The special interest of this study of personality has been in the effect of cultural
change and present social conditions upon the Sioux. The nature of this change
and the resultant disorganization of the society have profoundly affected the
1 2 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Sioux people and may fairly be assumed to be major determinants in their present
However, the fact that this study was not concerned with biological endowment
and physiological changes should not be construed to mean that these factors
do not have far-reaching effects upon personality. On the contrary, this research
was operated on the thesis that personality and individual development are the
resultants of the interaction of a number of complex processes. Organic processes
of the body (physical inheritance, present and past physical conditions and char-
acteristics) ; psychological processes (the need for affection and emotional security,
for some degree of status and recognition as persons, for a feeling of unity with
something larger and more secure than the individual) ; social processes operating
in the environment (the attitudes and modes of behavior of those who train the
child and the demands and prohibitions of the social group to which the individual
Per Cent of
5 7 years
belongs) all these operate to influence and shape personality and behavior. Irreg-
ularities and experiences arising from any of these areas of influence may produce
injuries and distortions in the entire personality structure. But long-enduring and
intense cultural disruptions may be reflected in disturbances of behavior and
personality organization as clearly as long-enduring or intense physical depriva-
tions or irregular physical conditions,
One further major concept is assumed in the theory of personality development
n"*M*M in this study* Any given overt behavior is a function of the entire per-
sooaiky organization rather than a simple reaction to a given objective stimulus.
Thus only when the entire personality demands and experiences are considered,
or purpose of the individual, can the significance of any behavior reaction or any
sot of reactions be given genuine meaning.
la presenting tbe environment aad the cultural changes aad their effects upon
Ac personalities of Roe Ridge children, the material has been organized on the
following bask Part I describes Sioux society in the past aad at present, giving
die historical and economic bases o reservation society today, the values and
attitude* which character izcd the ppc-rcservation culture, ad those which it has
retained or acquired in the last seventy-five years. Part II describes briefly how the
Sioux child grows up. Against this background of the society as it has been and
is today are set, in Part III, the personalities of the children who will be the adult
Sioux of tomorrow. Conclusions follow in Part IV.
The field work of this study was conducted during the period from August 1,
1942, to June 1, 1943. Deep appreciation should be expressed to all the members of
the field staff for their conscientious and enthusiastic work, all of which was done
in addition to their regular duties. To Dow Carnal, principal of Little Wound
Day School, special appreciation is expressed both for industry and enthusiasm in
making field studies in addition to his heavy responsibilities and for the informa-
tion he gave from his eleven years' experience on Pine Ridge.
The months of work for the field staff would have doubled except for the active
co-operation of many other Pine Ridge school and Agency employees who ex-
pedited the work of testing and made reports on the sample group of children.
Grateful acknowledgment is made of the co-operation of the teaching staffs of
Oglala Community High School and the Pine Ridge and Wanblee public
schools. Appreciation is also expressed to the members of the Agency Health Divi-
sion for their time and effort in making physical examinations of the children.
To W. O. Roberts, superintendent of the Pine Ridge Agency; William Nich-
olson, superintendent of education; Albert Pyles, principal of Oglala Community
High School; Mrs. Ruth Heinemann, social worker; Rex Kildow, Everett Jordan,
and their assistants on the Pine Ridge staff, thanks are due for their time and
co-operation in assisting the progress of the survey and in contributing informa-
tion and records. Mr. Roberts followed the survey with great interest, shared his
wide information about the history and the behavior of the Dakota, learned from
twenty years of work among them, and constructively criticized the manuscript.
Royal B. Hassrick, anthropologist from the Graduate School of the University
of Pennsylvania, joined the staff to conduct the Rorschach Psychodiagnostic tests
and to assist in the field work. For his assistance and analysis of the Rorschach
data, I am greatly indebted. His knowledge of the Sioux culture, drawn from
earlier studies among the Dakota, his manuscripts on the Dakota kirjship system
and native religion, which he generously offered for use in the study, his observa-
tions and discussions, and particularly his companionship during the field work
are gifts and associations whose meaning is very incompletely described as col-
Dr. William E. Henry of the University of Chicago, who acted as consultant in
the analysis and preparation of the psychological material, clarified the basic psy-
chological problems of the Dakota children in his interpretation of the Thematic
14 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Apperception tests of the group and individual case studies. His particular con-
tribution and insights and his assistance to me in getting my bearings in the field
of psychology are gratefully acknowledged.
For suggcstionsTcriticism, and insight into the social problems of the Dakota
and for reading and helpful guidance in the preparation of the manuscript, I am
deeply indebted and grateful to Professor W. Lloyd Warner, chairman of the
University of Chicago's committee of the project, and to Professor Ralph Tyler,
member of the committee. To Professor Robert Havighurst, also of the Univer-
sity's committee, I wish to express my gratitude for guidance and planning in
setting up the psychological tests, for analysis of the psychological battery, and for
critical reading of the manuscript. For their contribution in the analyses of tests,
acknowledgment is made to his assistants and other members of the research staff.
Appreciation for consultation and advice is extended to Dr. Bruno Klopfer,
director of the Rorschach Institute; to the late Dr. Eugene Lerner, formerly pro-
fessor of psychology, Sarah Lawrence College; and to Dr. Grace Arthur, who
gave instruction in the administration of her test at Pine Ridge,
To John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, who, from his deep insight
into Indian problems and Indian needs, initiated this research; to Willard W.
Beatty, Director of Education, for helpfully criticizing the manuscript and for
writing the Foreword; to Dorothea Leighton, M.D., special physician in the
Indian Service, for her analysis of the physical examination data and for her
advice in the psychological analysis; to Dr. Laura Thompson, co-ordinator of the
project, for criticisms and suggestions; and to the other members of the research
staff, I wish to express my thanks.
For careful and understanding editing of this study, I wish to express my
especial gratitude to Roma K. McNickle. I should also like to thank E. H. Coul-
son, of the Forestry Division, Office of Indian Aff airs, for preparing the two maps
used in the book.
To earlier studies of the Pine Ridge Dakota by Dr. Scudder Mekeel and Erik
Hctnburgcr Erikson, I am obligated far more than acknowledgments or ref-
erences can express* I have borrowed heavily from their ideas and insights and, if
credit and references have not always been made in the text, acknowledgment of
their gitat contribution is made here. Constant study of their writings, association
with them at Pine Ridge in 1937, and especially the long discussions with Dr.
Mekeel during the writing and editing of the manuscript have made much of
their thiakiog mine. If this work has carried forward their earlier researches, I
hope that they will consider themselves still active participants in the anthropology
and psychology of the Sioux.
Acknowledgment of their many courtesies and aids and their co-operation in
giving information and in taking the many and tedious tests is made to the
Indians of Kyle, Pine Ridge, and Wanblee. It was their friendship and interest
that made this study possible. It is sincerely hoped they will find the analysis
herein presented useful as a guide, and not a criticism, for themselves and for the
people who are working with them toward greater understanding in their com-
mon endeavor in developing their life on the reservation.
January 15, 1945
1. The other studies resulting from this project are: Hopi The Hopi Way, by Laura Thompson
and Alice Joseph (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944); Navaho The People and Their
Children, by Dorothea C. Leighton and Clyde Kluckhohn (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forth-
coming) ; Papago The Desert People^ by Alice Joseph, Rosamond Spicer, and Jane Chesky (in prepara-
tion, 1945); Zuni (title to be determined), by Clyde Kluckhohn and Dorothea C. Leighton (in
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . . . 10
PART I. DAKOTA LIFE-THEN AND NOW
I. THE WARRIORS ON THE RESERVATION 21
II. THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION* . . . 2 ( )
III. MAKING A LIVING ON THE RESERVATION . . . ... 45
IV. THE DAKOTA FAMILY . 52
V. RESERVATION COMMUNITIES . 66
VI. INDIANS AND WHITES . . 78
VII. POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH . 85
VIII. FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS ... 105
PART II. GROWING UP ON THE RESERVATION
IX. INFANCY 123
X. CHILDHOOD 131
XI. ADOLESCENCE 139
PART III. THE PERSONALITY OF THE DAKOTA CHILD
XII. TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 153
XIII. INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 184
XIV. LOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE 204
PART IV. OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE
XV. NEW WEAPONS FOR SECURITY 210
I. TECHNIQUES USED IN THE STUDY 215
II. AGGRESSION IN PERSONALITY 220
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
CHILDREN OF THE WARRIORS . Frontispiece
CABIN, TENT, AND CORRAL OF A TYPICAL RESERVATION HOME 24
SURVIVOR OF THE BATTLE OF WOUNDED KNEE 34
DISTRICT COMMITTEE DISTRIBUTES RATIONS 47
SEASONAL WAGE WORK IMPORTANT IN THE $458 AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME .... 47
A HOME ON THE RANGE 61
WATCHING THE WORLD Go BY 71
TRANSACTING GOVERNMENT BUSINESS 80
FOUR GENERATIONS Ill
WARRIORS FOR A DAY 129
FOUR Sioux BOYS 136
FOUR Sioux GIRLS 141
SCHOOLBOYS ROPING A WILD HORSE . . . 168
ADOLESCENT BOY 196
DRIVING HOME THE NEW HERD 213
LIST OF MAPS
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION End Papers
MEDICINE ROOT DISTRICT 76
PART I. DAKOTA LIFE THEN AND NOW
THE WARRIORS ON THE RESERVATION
To MOST white Americans the Dakota, or Sioux, are the typical Indians, who
dressed in eagle-feather war bonnets, hunted the buffalo, and fought sav-
agely against the wagon trains of emigrants and the cavalry of the United
States Army. The Western or Teton-Dakota, with whom this book deals, are
descendants of several of the bands and their chiefs who led the resistance of the
Northern Plains Indians. The fathers and grandfathers of the oldest generation
living today were men who for years fought off the United States Army and, in
one battle against Custer, severely defeated it. Until 1855 these Dakota were free
and independent, living as nomadic warriors and hunters and following the way
of life which they had developed in two hundred years on the plains. In that year
General Harney began a campaign against them which lasted for twenty years.
By treaty in 1868 the Teton-Dakota agreed to accept a single large reservation,
where their hunting rights were to be undisturbed. An uprising in 1876 was
followed by defeat and final acceptance of reservation life. They had no choice
but to accept, because the buffalo, their basic food supply, had almost vanished
from the plains.
The Pine Ridge Reservation, on which 8,500 Teton-Dakota of the Oglala and
Brule subtribes are living today, is only a small part of the Great Sioux Reservation
originally set aside for all the tribe. Pine Ridge itself originally included four
counties along the southern boundary of South Dakota, covering nearly 4,400
square miles. This area, almost the size of the state of Connecticut, was later
reduced by the opening of one county for homesteading by white settlers. To the
east of Pine Ridge lies the Rosebud Reservation, where live most of the Brule and
other subtribes of the Teton-Dakota. Pine Ridge is bounded in part on the north
by the White River, a large stream which flows in a northeasterly direction across
the western part of the reservation and then eastward to join the Missouri. Many
small streams, which flow throughout the summer in years of heavy snow and
good rainfall, cross the reservation and empty into the White River. The Pine
22 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Ridge country is rolling high-plains land covered with short grass and broken by
long pine-covered ridges running out of the Black Hills at the northwest.
The Dakota came onto the reservation not as a vanquished people but rather as
eagles driven by a winter storm to accept captivity and food until they could fly
away again. 1 Yet, even before the last of the bands came to the Pine Ridge Agency
to obtain their rations, there were some leaders and their followers who saw the
inevitability of dominance by the white man. With the freedom for much in-
dividual choice which was characteristic of their society, some of these Indians
began to adopt white ways and to extend their friendship to white men, both
military and civilians. Some came very early into possession of a few cattle,
probably by stealing them from whites as they had formerly stolen horses from
other enemies. Some became scouts for the Army, although this was infrequent
in the early days of the Sioux-white conflict. They wore white men's clothing,
took jobs as they could get them, and later joined mission churches. These
"friendly" Indians were few at first, but they paved the way for many others who,
sometimes in entire bands, accepted settlement and peaceful life on the reservation.
The Dakota on the reservation today give the impression that they have now
accepted white life and are far removed from the hunting, raiding, and tepee-
dwelling life of a few generations ago. This is indeed the case; but, as in every
change to another culture, the process has not been one of simple substitution.
Indian faces are still to be seen, of course, and a few old men and little boys with
long braids. Most of the women wear blankets, and a number of the people also
wear moccasins. Among themselves many families speak Siouan. These are
among the few remaining outward signs of a continuing Indian life.
The white visitor is more forcefully impressed by the frame and log homes,
the schools and churches, and the country stores. Although the storekeepers -are
known as "traders" by tradition, the Indian customers buy with cash or charge
and do very little trading as such. There are also beauty shops, movie shows, drug
stores, and cafes and, in them all, Indian as well as white customers.
Except for their darker faces and large brown eyes, the children look like chil-
dren of any rural town on the plains. They play basketball in the schoolyard and
travel to school in orange-colored busses. Around their homes, little boys rope
fence posts or puppies, while their sisters play with dolls or jackstones.
Traveling across the reservation, one finds whites living among the Indians
both in the rural areas and in the towns. Around the white farms, barns, and
sheds, equipment and livestock show greater prosperity. There are also signs of
greater activity among the white men at work with their tractors or trucks. Prop-
erty seems to be better maintained.
If a visitor goes inside both white and Indian homes, he will find the differences
THE WARRIORS ON THE RESERVATION 23
between whites and Indians not quite so clear cut. The outward symbols by
which he has learned to distinguish the homes of one group from the other do not
always hold true. The owner of an apparently prosperous ranch, when met at his
door, may reveal physical characteristics that show part-Indian inheritance. The
wife of a white farmer may be a distinctly Indian woman in appearance.
Visiting at Indian cabins, one may find an old, unquestionably full-blood couple
living in a single room that is immaculately scrubbed. Each piece of household
furniture is placed against the wall, and every article either hung up or packed
away in trunks. The arrangement of the house may seem reminiscent of the old
tepee, but the order and care show that the wife has thoroughly kept the habits
of a good white housekeeper learned at Indian school forty or fifty years ago.
On the other hand, some Indian homes have litter and trash around them, and
inside there are dirt, garbage, ragged blankets, and clothes strewn about the floor.
The occupants may appear to be full-bloods or mixed-bloods. Among them there
may be no sign of farming operations or a cattle herd or any economic activity.
Many more Indians have their own cattle, chickens, and vegetable gardens. But
the visitor will find as he goes from home to home that the majority of the
Indians have little as compared to the white people of the countryside. The cattle
herds are small, the gardens are small, the cornfields are small. Wheat and other
grain crops are rare in Indian fields. Poverty characterizes most of the Indian
'Not only economic activity is lacking in Indian homes; there is little social inter-
action in the community. The tempo is slow and quiet, and life is marked by an
idleness that reflects apathy as well as the lack of full-time occupation.
As one remains in the reservation communities, he becomes aware of a great
variety in Indian habits and ways of living and also in Indian personalities. He
will see that between the light mixed-blood rancher on his profitable cattle ranch
and the full-blood in his cabin, living by government rations and a little work,
there are extremes of behavior and outlook that makes them appear to belong to
two different worlds.
The light mixed-blood talks of the difficulties of wartime restrictions and the
price of cattle. He looks and lives more like his white neighbor than like his darker
Indian cousin. In fact, he belongs socially to the group of whites who ranch and
farm or keep stores in the area. He eats in their homes and attends their parties,
and his children marry their children.
From the full-blood, a visitor will hear stories of the great days of the Sioux,
told with many sign-language gestures. Perhaps a buckskin garment or a beauti-
fully beaded pipe bag will be brought out for his inspection. Talk may turn to
complaints about the Indian Service, the hard times, the failure of the garden, or
the fact that the school bus comes too e^arly or too far from his grandchildren's
THE WARRIORS ON THE RESERVATION 25
door. If the visitor goes to an evening dance at the school, he will find his full-
blood friends dancing the Omaha Dance, performed as in the old days only by
men and women in Indian dress, or the Rabbit Dance, which, as a concession to
white ways, is danced with Indian reserve by couples. Upstairs the young mixed-
bloods and the Agency employees will be dancing the waltz and foxtrot to fiddle
and concertina. The older full-bloods are the nucleus of a large group which tries
to maintain what it can of Indian life. Their dancing symbolizes their cultural
position and attitudes preserving the old and making slight concessions to
change. Their chief satisfactions come from doing things the Indian way.
The cultural position of the majority of the Pine Ridge Indians lies between the
two extremes of the white-assimilated mixed-bloods lind the unassimilated full-
bloods who live in the shadow of their former Indian culture. But running
through the whole reservation society is a strong split, which basically is one of
attitudes. There are political divisions over following the current administrative
policy set forth in the Indian Reorganization Act and over past administrative
measures. There are divisions based on being "full-blood" or "mixed-blood,"
which, it is important to remember, are actually sociological rather than bio-
logical groups, standing primarily for the way of living according to Indian or
white patterns rather than the actual degree of Indian blood. 2 There are those
who make a living by farming or wage work. There are the others who prefer to
be dependent on the government and exert their efforts toward getting more help
and financial restitution from Congress for wrongs they believe the United States
committed in the past. This division of outlook within the tribe has brought an
increasing amount of conflict of one group against another. It appears in every
new issue the Sioux face and tends to retard their economic and social develop-
This difference in attitudes began almost with the arrival of whites in the
Teton-Dakota country. To the original group favoring white influence were
added in a few years the full-blood young people who were taken away to Hamp-
ton and Carlisle schools for training in white vocations and habits. Then the
half-bloods began to appear. They were the children of white fathers who sternly
insisted that their sons and daughters follow the American, and often European,
pattern in which they themselves had been reared. From the increase of this
group by continued white intermarriages and intermixture of mixed-blood and
full-blood, the biological mixed-blood group now ranges from fifteen-sixteenths to
one-sixteenth of Dakota blood. It forms 60 per cent of the resident reservation
In spite of the predominance of intermixture with white, more than iialf of the
Pine Ridge Indian population belong to the sociological full-blood group. They
maintain a similar level of living on a very low average income, adhere to a
26 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
number of Dakota customs, have a common set of attitudes (at least by genera-
tion), and usually talk among themselves in their Teton-Dakota dialect. They
form the social group which comes to mind when whites, mixed-bloods, and even
local full-blood employees of other tribes speak of the "Indians." Descriptions and
life-patterns of the present-day Dakota in this study refer to the sociological full-
blood group. Sharp differences in the habits of the sociological mixed-bloods are
The Dakota who have chosen to follow the "white man's road," as they term it,
are looked upon by white people as progressive. Actually they are the more real-
istic. The Indians who first became cattlemen, settled in permanent homes, and
sent their children to school were accepting the inevitable. The sons and daughters
of the early white men and Indian women followed the customs and attitudes of
their fathers because of early childhood training. They learned the white ways of
life before they were old enough to choose or understand their cultural position.
However, changing from an Indian to a white cultural pattern, or merely fol-
lowing a father's teaching, was not a simple process. For those adult full-bloods
who changed, there were the old sentiments and attachments to a life that had
been stamped in them in childhood. There were also the constant pressures of the
conservative Indian group. Children trained by white fathers were attached to the
Indian people and to Indian ways of living by the training of their Indian mothers
and the associations with Indian playmates. Thus it is not surprising that within
individuals themselves there were divisions of loyalties and affections and in their
behavior much ambivalence and uncertainty.
The Indians who in the first years of reservation life tried to cling to Indian
ways and cherished the values and attitudes which supported them "have their
modern counterpart in the conservative and more nearly full-blood element of the
reservation. At first the conservative group would not accept the circumstances
into which they had been thrust. They fought, negotiated, and even employed
supernatural means to overcome the whites, to restore the buffalo, and to regain
freedom upon the plains. As Erikson has well pointed out, they could not accept
the fact that the "old days" were gone forever, that the buffalo hunts, the war
parties, the long processions across the plains to tribal meetings, and their religious
worship in the Sun Dance were no more. 3 This belief that the present situation
is not here to stay still lingers in the minds of many. At least its conscious accept-
ance is avoided by thinking, dreaming, and believing that the old life can still be
regained. To them the old life is reality, and the necessity for Indians to live much
as whites do is still unreal, or at least to be avoided.
No one Indian, of course, is so completely out of touch with reality as this un-
qualified statement would imply. Indeed, only a people of such stamina and fibre
THE WARRIORS ON THE RESERVATION 27
as the Dakota could have stood without cracking under the terrific strain of
events they have encountered in the last eighty years. Yet, despite their surface
acquiescence, unwillingness to accept modern life and cultural change and the
fantasy of an eventual return of the former Indian life are still common to the
thinking of many Dakota.
This refusal or inability to accept the apparent fate of becoming socially and
culturally white men has not prevented them from accepting many of the material
aspects of white life : skin tepees have been exchanged for log cabins, open fires for
iron stoves. The conservative group has moved toward assimilation, embracing
many elements of white life into their own. This trend has not, however, taken
place without great personal and social disorganization. Thus the conservative or
less assimilated group, living in much of the spirit and the vestiges of their old
culture, are on the fringes of both Indian and white cultures. In these respects the
majority of the Pine Ridge Dakota are marginal people both as whites and as
It would be an error to assume, however, that the Dakota show social differ-
ences and disorganization because of sheer slowness and stubbornness. This
process of cultural change takes place in all groups, although not always with such
disastrous effects or sharp contrasts. Even European groups coming to America
with the desire to change have not escaped difficulties and conflicts of adjustment
that only time can iron out. The Dakota in their change have had to move from a
simple to a complex culture and to a complex culture that was changing from a
frontier society to more stable, settled order within a growing young nation.
Events moved with great rapidity; the physical environment changed under ex-
ploitation, abuse, and erosion; and one economy after another was swept from
beneath th,em. The pressure to become "civilized" was intense. All the Indians
changed to some extent with the course of events.
The wide range of Sioux behavior, the seeming sets of patterns within patterns,
and the confusion of cultural values resulting in strong personal anxiety will
appear in later chapters of this book. In their recent economic and social change
the Dakota have "had neither much opportunity to contribute to their new life
nor freedom of choice or education or understanding before acceptance of white
life. Frequently the direction and final decision rested in the hands of the whites.
Forbidden by circumstance to remain warriors and hunters, they have had to find
new roles within the new economic and social order. They found in cattle, as
they did in the gun and the horse, a means of making a living and adjusting in
their new cultural milieu. But they lost their cattle during World War I, and, as
a result, they became even more disorganized from this second loss of the founda-
tion of their economy. Under the present administration the Pine Ridge Indians
28 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
have been able to purchase new cattle and take over much direction of their
political affairs through a tribally elected council. Present signs give promise of a
successful redevelopment of their economic and social life.
1. Julia B. McGillycuddy, McGillycuddy Agent (Stanford University, Calif.: Stanford University
Press, 1941), p. 153.'
2. Throughout the text the use of "full-blood" and "mixed -blood" will refer to the sociological,
not the biological, groups.
3. Erik Homburger Erikson, "Observations on Sioux Education" Journal of Psychology, VII
? ) ) ? ) ) -^) -XE 3 ) ) gO Ctt < CK- < fr C* CK- < KC- gfr^fr-gfr
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION
? > > o > > > ? o> > > > > CK- < ccc- <<K- c- < < c- ceo (Co c- ceo <cc--^
THE known history of the Teton-Dakota has been a series of adjustments to
new environments and ways of life. About two hundred and fifty years ago
these Indians came from the woodlands and prairies onto the plains and
adapted themselves to hunting the buffalo in this treeless country. A century and
a half elapsed before the white man's encroachments on their territory and their
food supply began the struggle which ended in acceptance of settlement on
reservations. In 1869, when they began moving into reservation agencies, the
Teton-Dakota started to travel in earnest the long road toward the white man's
THE WESTWARD MIGRATION AND CONFLICT
The Teton-Dakota are the western division of the Dakota people who lived
formerly around Mille Lacs, Minnesota. Their language, which belongs to the
Siouan stock, links them with the Omaha, the Assiniboine, and other tribes
living on the plains and prairies and with a few scattered tribes in eastern and
southern United States. From scientific research it appears that the Siouan group
once lived in the Ohio Valley. 1 Historical evidence indicates that whites first met
the Teton-Dakota at the headwaters of the Mississippi in 1680. 2 They moved into
the prairies before, and independently of, the Central and Eastern Dakota divi-
sions, the Yankton and Santee. All these divisions may have come to the Mille
Lac region from the east and then pushed westward in historic times under pres-
sure from the Chippewa, armed with white men's guns.
According to tradition, the Teton-Dakota in their westward trek moved in two
groups. 3 The Oglala and Brule subtribes moved south to the Blue Earth River in
Minnesota and then west to the James River and finally to the Missouri, which
they reached about 1760. 4 The second group, including the Minneconjou, Sans
Arcs, Two Kettles, Hunkpapa, and Blackfeet Teton-Dakota, moved first to Big
Stone Lake, on the present Minnesota-South Dakota boundary, and then west-
ward on a northern route parallel to that of the Oglala and Brule.
' In taking this first step of their westward, migration, the Teton-Dakota moved
30 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
to the fringe of the eastern woodland area and into the high-grass prairie coun-
try, which presented them with new problems of living. As they went farther
westward and came into contact with other plains tribes, they continued to modify
their culture, until it became one of the typical examples of Plains Indian life.
This culture developed around the great herds of buffalo which roamed the high
plains west of the Missouri River, from north of the Canadian border to Texas.
When whites first encountered Indians thought to have belonged to the Teton-
Dakota group, they were traveling on foot and transporting their baggage by
dog-drawn travois. 5 By 1760, after they migrated to the Missouri River, 6 some
Teton-Dakota, probably Oglala and Brule, had obtained a few horses. Before
they reached the Black Hills (about 1780) , 7 they are known to have had good
herds of horses, but just when they began to travel as mounted tribes is not yet
ascertained. They first had guns in any quantity about 1750. 8
With the gun and the horse, introduced by Europeans but reaching the Teton-
Dakota first through other Indians, this tribe could spread over the plains country
that abounded with buffalo. The horse made possible hunting and traveling over
the vast stretches of the plains, and the gun gave them means to fight similarly
armed tribes and overcome those who were without them. 9
Like the whites who kter followed them, the Teton found the plains occupied.
The Arikara held the region of the Missouri Valley where the Oglala and Brule
wished to cross the river. For years the invaders were held back by the Arikara,
but after smallpox decimated the latter 's villages they were forced to retreat up the
river. The Cheyenne, who also lived along the river, gave way to the newcomers
with little resistance. Later the Teton had to fight the Pawnee, the Kiowa, and the
Crow for the Black Hills, and they defeated the Mandan to obtain the best buffalo
grounds. Once having obtained control over the region of western Nebraska,
South and North Dakota, and eastern Montana and Wyoming, the Teton pushed
no farther. It should be kept in mind that, although the Teton later fought with
the whites and with alien Indian tribes to keep them from encroaching on their
hunting grounds, they themselves had fought to conquer territory. This strongly
qualifies the frequent assertion that their fighting was a kind of game, with only
spoils or honor as the object.
The first coming of the whites brought great material prosperity to the Indians.
The fur-tradersfirst the French and later the^Americans brought guns, knives,
axes, and iron pots to trade for pelts. These articles came into the hands of the
Sioux through trade with their eastern neighbors, the Chippewa, and later directly
from the traders. These men were not interested in disrupting the life of the
Indians; indeed, many white traders entered into Indian life by marrying Dakota
women, as the prevalence of French names on the reservation today suggests. It
was to the traders* interest that Indian economic activity should be encouraged in
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION 31
order that hunting and trapping might flourish. Later the first American pioneers
into the west crossed the Teton country along the valley of the Platte but were
not interested in settling.
By 1841, however, hundreds of people were emigrating by wagon train to the
West Coast and raiding the buffalo herds for food. Then came the thousands over
the Oregon Trail along the Platte River in the Gold Rush of 1849. Alarmed at
the increasing number of whites and the threat to their food supply, the Sioux
and neighboring tribes of Cheyenne and Arapaho began raiding the wagon
trains. The government then attempted to protect the overland trails by making
a treaty which set boundaries to the territory claimed by the Teton-Dakota and
other tribes. This treaty, signed at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, in 1851, prohibited
trespass by whites on Indian territory but guaranteed emigrants safe passage
through it. Neither side lived up to the agreement. There followed thirty years of
violent but sporadic fighting and raiding which reached its peak jn the sixties
and seventies. General Harney, who had begun a campaign against the Indians
in 1855, finally secured a peace treaty with them in 1868. The government agreed
to keep all whites from hunting or settling in Indian territory, to abandon the
proposed trail from Fort Laramie to Bozeman, Montana, and the military posts
along it, and to pay annuities for appropriated lands. In return, the Indians con-
sented to settle on reservations.
The Teton accepted the Great Sioux Reservation and received hunting privi-
leges to the west. This reservation was bounded by lines on north, west, and south
which became the state boundaries of South Dakota, and by the Missouri River
on the east. The Teton released all claims to territory east of the Missouri. In 1869
most of them moved into the Army-supervised agencies established within the
- reservation, where a few friendly Indians had already been living for four or five
In the following year war broke out again, occasioned by treaty violations by
both Indians and whites. For several years hostile Indians came to and left the
In the fall of 1875 many of the Indians were permitted to leave their reservations
for a buffalo hunt in the Powder River country of Wyoming. But in the dead of
winter they were asked to return. When they did not do so, because of the heavy
snows and lack of sufficient food stores, they were declared hostile, and the Army
was sent to force their return. Allied with warriors of other tribes, the Sioux met a
detachment of the Army under Custer and defeated him at the Little Bis: Horn
in Wyoming. But shortly thereafter they suffered their final military defeat, and
the majority, including Red Cloud, war leader of the allied tribes, returned to the
reservation. Several bands fled to Canada, but in the following year, Crazy Horse,
32 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
a chief of the Oglala, returned from Canada to surrender. Four years later Gall
and Sitting Bull followed him.
In 1875, when reports of gold brought great pressure for white men to be let
into the Black Hills, a government commission had drawn up a treaty for their
cession, but the chiefs refused to sign. Nevertheless, the Army let thousands of
impatient prospectors into the hills. In the peace settlement of the following year,
some of the Teton-Dakota leaders relinquished their claim to the hills and the
right to hunt west of the reservation line. The Teton have since claimed that the
terms of this settlement were misrepresented to them and that not all the leaders
of the bands knew of the action. 10 The loss of the hills has remained a controversy
and a source of deep resentment among the Sioux to the present day. Suits against
the United States government for compensation have been entered in the Court
EARLY RESERVATION YEARS
For the Dakota the tragedies of 1876 and the few years that followed brought
an end to armed resistance against the white man and the defense of their inde-
pendence and territories. The buffalo were rapidly disappearing, and with them
the chief source of food. The Dakota could not continue the fight against such
Events which have had a lasting effect on the attitudes of the Teton followed in
so rapid a succession that they brought spiritual defeat soon after the segregation
on the reservation and the loss of the provider and symbol of life, the buffalo. In
1881 the superintendent at Pine Ridge Agency forbade the continuance of the
annual Sun Dance, the great tribal religious ceremony, after its performance
during that summer. In 1882 the last great buffalo hunt was held; and in Novem-
ber of the next year the last buffalo was killed by the Teton-Dakota.
The Great Sioux Reservation was broken in 1889 into five separate Teton-
Dakota reservations: Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and
Lower Brule. The Oglala and part of the Brule, who were finally settled on the
Pine Ridge Reservation, had previously been placed at several agencies. At first
they were located on the north fork of the Platte River not far from Laramie, then
moved to the Whetstone Agency on the Missouri, then returned to the Red Cloud
Agency on the Platte, not far from the pkce where the government had first
quartered them. They were next moved to a pkce on the White River near Fort
Robinson, Nebraska, and finally in 1878 to a site oh Big White Clay Creek selected
by the Indians and named "Pine Ridge."
The civilian superintendent appointed to take charge of the Pine Ridge Agency
in 1879 11 immediately began a program of preparing the bands under his charge
for the settled ways of white farmers. His suppression of the Sun Dance was only
one step in directing the Indians away from their pagan and uncivilized ways.
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION 33
Breakup o camp life and the family groups of tepees, the undermining of the
authority of the chiefs, and the placement of children in school followed in quick
succession. The disappearance of the buffalo, the loss of the old ways, and the
anticipation of new ones culminated in a feeling of frustration and resentment
which drove a large proportion of the Dakota to attempt to rid themselves of the
white man by supernatural means. The center of this resistance was on Pine
Ridge, where it ended in the last Teton-Dakota combat with the United States
THE LAST BATTLE
In 1889 the Sioux heard of the Ghost Dance among the Indians in the western
United States. It was prophesied that a messiah would appear, to destroy the
white race and the evils which it had brought and to bring back the buffalo and
the Indian dead, thus restoring the old life. A delegation from three Sioux reserva-
tions was sent to Nevada to visit Wovoka, the prophet of this cult. 12 They
returned with glowing but distorted accounts, and soon Indians on all the Dakota
reservations were dancing the Ghost Dance in a frenzy.
One great dance was held on White Cky Creek near the Pine Ridge Agency.
As the bands gathered, the new successor to the first agent and the white settlers
grew more and more uneasy. The ritual, which they mistook for a war dance,
threw them into a panic, and they called for troops. Near Wounded Knee the
cavalry, a part of Ouster's former regiment, came upon the Big Foot band on their
way from another reservation to the Ghost Dance -camp to learn of the new mes-
siah. As they were being disarmed, a shot was fired which fanned the smoldering
fires of resentment among the Indians and the desire for revenge by the soldiers.
In a savage attack the soldiers, armed with the Catling gun, killed 128 warriors
and massacred many women and children who were fleeing from the scene.
Commenting on the event forty years later, a Sioux remarked: "After the Battle
of Wounded Knee all ambition was taken out of us. We have never since been
able^to regain a foothold." 13 The tragedy brought to a sudden end the hopes of
the Ghost Dancers. Wounded Knee drove home the impossibility of escape from
The battle has remained in the minds of many Pine Ridge people as a symbol
of .injustice and abuse at the hands of the white man. Survivors are still living,
but the event is discussed only by younger people. A trader's large biflboard, "Site
of the Massacre of Wounded Knee," helps to keep the memory fresh.
Mekeel in his history of the Teton-Dakota marks the Ghost Dance and the
Battle of Wounded Knee as the cad of one historical phase of Indian-white rela-
SURVIVOR OF THE- BATTLE OF WOUNDED KNEE
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION ($5)
tions, as seen from the Indian point of view. 14 From then to the present, he says,
has been a period of "passive acceptance of white acculturation."
The period of acculturation actually began with the Indians' acceptance of
white material goods, received by trade with Indians to the east and with whites
in the seventeenth century. It has already been noted that as early as 1865 some
Teton-Dakota were already accepting the peaceful life which the whites offered at
the agencies. At least as early as 1870 the military were encouraging the Indians
to take up livestock-raising.
The adoption of white life was also stimulated by missionary activities. In 1871
the Episcopal church established a school at the Whetstone Agency. By 1888 the
Jesuits came to the reservation and established both a mission and a school.
In 1879, children of the Teton-Dakota had been sent east to the first nonreserva-
tion government school for Indians at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The agent at Pine
Ridge obtained government funds to start a local school, which he opened in 1881.
In all these activities there were some Indians who participated willingly. It
appears, therefore, that the process of acculturation was functioning intensively
among many of the Indians long before the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee.
These events brought to a close the last active tribal effort to combat white aggres-
sors and also the decline of Indian resistance, but long before 1890 there had been
a rising acceptance of white life.
Three aspects of the dramatic period of change from Indian to white culture
which followed are important to note: first, the suppression of Indian custom and
authority; second, the education of the children in the techniques of white life;
and, third, Agency and other white pressures upon the adults to adopt white ways
of making a livelihood.
The attempt to suppress native leadership and Indian social controls began
under the agent who came to Pine Ridge in 1879. He had two particular powers
by which he kept the Indians under his control: the ration issue of live beef and a
police company of fifty Indians, which he organized with an Indian leader as chief
of police responsible directly to him. These powers he utilized with no attempt at
abuse to achieve the ends which he thought most desirable for the tribe. Only
through the acceptance of stock-raising and settlement on farm tracts, he sincerely
felt, could the Indian adjust to his new situation. However, like all people of his
time, the agent also felt that this must be accompanied by a complete abandon-
ment of Indian custom. Thus, when the Indians seemed to cling too tenaciously
to camping by band groups, holding council by themselves, or being unco-opera-
tive, he withheld rations or utilized the police to force a change.
The agent, having control of the food supply and its distribution, as well as
control over the Indians' personal freedom, held power with which the chiefs
could not compete. All decisions had to be taken ultimately to him, and thus be-
36 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
gan a paternalistic system 15 which brought the virtual elimination of the position
of chief. The last man to be made a chief of the Oglala Sioux on Pine Ridge
tersely states in his autobiography: "If I tried to better the conditions of my
people, while on the reservation, I found it another impossibility. So I had to do
one of two things keep my mouth shut or fight the agent all the time." 16 And
so he left the reservation forever.
The undermining of native controls and native leadership was followed later
by official regulations which forbade native dances, ceremonies, and pagan cus-
toms which were believed to impede the acceptance of white life. 17 These regula-
tions were in force until 1934. 18
The most effective means for cultural change lay in the education of the young
people. Although the school established under the first agent at Pine Ridge got off
to a bad start when the matron attempted to cut off the boys' long braids and thus
threw the students into flight, the first classes soon had a large number of the chil-
dren around the agency in attendance. 10 The formal school program was pat-
terned after that of the schools in the East, but half the time was devoted to
industrial training, agriculture, and housekeeping.
Excerpts from the statement of educational policy for all Indian children at this
time are enlightening. The policy was "to civilize," "to humanize," and "to put
the children in boarding school where they will learn English" and "not relapse
into their former moral and mental stupor." In connection with this statement,
the federal superintendent of Indian schools in 1885 makes one remark which
is highly significant in light of this study. "The Indian is the strangest compound
of individualism and socialism run to seed. It is this being that we endeavor to
make a member of a new social order .... to do this we must recreate him,
mafe a new personality?*
Children were virtually kidnaped to force them into government schools, their
hair was cut, and their Indian clothes thrown away. They were forbidden to
speak in their own language. Life in the school was under military discipline, and
rules were enforced by corporal punishment. Those who persisted in clinging to
their old ways and those who ran away and were recaptured were thrown into
jail. Parents who objected were also jailed. Where possible, children were kept in
school year after year to avoid the influence of their families.
This policy began in the seventies and eighties and continued long after the
Indians had made adjustments to reservation life. Physically enforced attendance
at the schools and the use of corporal punishment, jails, and military drill con-
tinued into the late 1920's but are no longer sanctioned by the Office of Indian
Affairs. The official belief in "civilizing the Indian," as such, has passed, yet the
motivation to make him in the likeness of the social and economic ideal of whites
has by no mesas totally vanished from the picture.
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION , 37
Accompanying the educational program for the children was a strong effort to
have the adults establish permanent dwellings and undertake the running of
cattle herds. This caused a radical innovation in the social organization of the
Indians. When the Oglala and Brule subtribes the. two main groups on Pine
Ridge came onto the reservation, they camped in a great circle about three miles
from the Agency and then broke up into the smaller bands or large family camps.
By establishing ration-issue stations and building homes for the band chiefs in
different parts of the reservation, the Agency maneuvered most of the bands into
settling in separate localities. After a short time the bands broke up, and the
individual families spread along the creeks. Thus a great change was made from
the old camp life, with families living at close quarters and under the direction
of their chiefs, to a more isolated and independent type of family life. From 1900
to 1917 this pattern of Indian homes separate from each other became crystallized
by allotting individual tracts to all Indians. As many as could do so chose for their
allotment the quarter section of land on which their home was located.
In spreading along the creeks of the reservation, the Indian families built log
cabins and established themselves on the land much like white rural families.
Slowly each family also began to accumulate a small herd of cattle and horses.
In the early years of settlement many families were content to live by government
rations and to spend their time in idleness, gaming, community gatherings, or
riding to other homes. In order to increase their efforts toward self-support, the
Agency cut down the amount of rations. The Indians were also expected to earn
their rations by working on a project to fence the reservation, 21 The reduction of
rations and the requirement of work to stimulate industry on the part of the
Indians came at the same time that the Great Sioux Reservation was broken up
and large sections were set aside for white settlement. The chiefs opposed to
co-operation with the government immediately took occasion to point out that all
these actions were new proof of the government's lack of good faith and its
intent to cheat the Indians.
However, the process of accepting the white man's life continued to gain im-
petus. Missionary work spread from Pine Ridge town into the new communi-
ties, but it was many years before a large part of the population joined the
churches. The government established small country schools in which the Indian
children learned the three R's. After the turn of the century, the reservation popu-
lation entered a long period of comparative calm, during which it became fairly
well adjusted to a settled rural life and cattle-raising.
THE STORY OF THE CATTLE AND THE LND
The raising 0f cattle, which became the basic economy of the reservation, began
in the 1870's, when, in keeping with the local economy, the military in charge of
38 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
the Pine Ridge Agency began providing the Indians with cattle. They also pre-
vailed upon the Indians to keep the cows from the cattle supplied for ration issues.
Beginning in 1871, one animal on the hoof was included in each Indian's monthly
ration. During the early part of this period, however, Indians were leaving the
reservation to hunt buffalo, and a great number from Pine Ridge had become
embroiled in the battles of 1876 with Custer and Crook. We cannot assume, there-
fore, that all the Indians had become livestock owners or that those who owned
cattle were livestock operators in the modern sense. They ran their cattle much
as they ran their herds of ponies. However, an interest in cattle had been stimu-
lated among those Indians who had accepted reservation life and wished to remain
at peace with the white man. The first civilian superintendent, following the
program initiated by the Army, issued cattle directly for the purpose of building
up Indian cattle herds. He was greatly impressed and satisfied that the Indians
kept the original issue and allowed the calves to mature. 22 According to official
reports, there were 10,000 head of Indian cattle on the open range by 1885, and by
1912 the Indian herds had increased to 40,000 head. 23
The continued pursuit of stock-raising, however, w.as interrupted by plans for
other enterprises. The Allotment Act of 1887 had been passed on the assumption
that, by allotting every Indian a tract of land, all of them would rapidly become
civilized and self-sufficient farmers. Individual allotments were to be held in trust
by the United States government for twenty-five years, in order to protect Indian
interests. At the end of this period their competency to handle their own affairs
would be passed upon; if the judgment was affirmative, title would be vested in
the allottee in fee simple. The allotment of lands to the Pine Ridge Indians did not
commence until about 1904. By 1916 the major portion of the reservation had been
divided into tracts of 160 acres for each Indian regardless of age.
Although allotments were not made on Pine Ridge during the nineteenth
century, there was some pressure from private and government quarters in the
East upon the Pine Ridge agents from 1890 to 1900 to promote dry farming. Dur-
ing this period the Pine Ridge Indians suffered from various ill-advised actions of
the Agency and from political schemes and fraud.
In 1900 a new agent came to the reservation and remained for seventeen years.
Under his direction Indian cattle operations gained fresh impetus which resulted
in a good increase of the herds. The livestock practice of this era was that of the
open range, of allowing the herds to move over the reservation ranges with little
supervision. Each spring and fall great roundups were held, which were im-
portant events to all the Indians. During these years the Pine Ridge Dakota
became steeped in the life of the cowboy, his existence in the open, his dress, his
skill with horses all of which would be extremely attractive to people who had
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION 39
been great horsemen and lived the life of the Plains Indians. Rations became so
unnecessary by 1914, that they amounted only to token payments.
With the beginning of World War I, cattle prices soared and the Indians were
encouraged to sell their herds, and in 1916 nearly all the herds were sold off. Be-
sides the attraction of high prices, there was pressure from white stockmen to
have the Indians dispose of their cattle so that white cattle interests could lease
the reservation ranges in these years of tremendous profits. Only one small lease
of reservation land had been made to a white man in 1914, but by 1917 the large
cattle operators had secured leases on nearly all the reservation. The remaining
Indian cattle merged with the herds of the whites and were sold in the fall round-
up. A new agent, who believed in leasing Indian lands, took charge in 1917. In the
following year all the reservation lands went under control of whites and re-
mained in their hands until 1921.
The loss of their cattle herds was the greatest disaster that had befallen the
Pine Ridge Indians since the vanishing of the buffalo. For a second time, the basis
of their economy and the foundation on which their society rested were swept
from beneath them. The full effect was not felt immediately. Although there was
much fraud involved, the returns from the cattle sales created a sudden wealth in
cash. The Indians indulged in an orgy of spending, for their cash income from
high land rentals appeared to be endless. Feverishly they began buying the
gadgets of civilization, especially automobiles. For these they traded their herds
of horses, often twenty-five for a car. The Indians had always kept herds of horses
on the reservation, and during the last years of their cattle sales, many had in-
vested in fine-blooded horses to improve their stock. These horse herds now dis-
appeared rapidly, and by 1930 there was left about one horse for each Indian. 24
In 1921 began the postwar depression that forced many cattle operators to go
out of business and default on their leases. Many Indians, now without cattle to
sell, were hard hit by the sudden cessation of their income from leases. Then
came the opportunity to sell the land. The Competency Commission arrived from
Washington to arrange for handing over title to property formerly allotted to
Indians. The sale of allotments thus became possible and was even encouraged by
the Agency. In accordance with a policy established by the Bureau of Indian
Affairs four years previously, only persons of one-half or less Indian blood were
adjudged competent. Hence the holdings of many Dakota remained intact for
some time, but pressure to sell increased.
By the end of 1922 the agricultural market had recovered, and there began a
feverish buying of Indian lands by land speculators and crop farmers. The gov-
ernment, with little thought for the Indians' future, co-operated fully. The
Agency placed notices of available lands in full-page newspaper advertisements.
Again high ^prices encouraged the Indians to sell. Without cattle to run on their
40 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
land, cashing in on their allotments appeared to be a profitable piece of business.
Most of the Indians felt assured that they would always be able to live on the
reservation and that there would always be lands of relatives to which they could
move. There was much pressure from agents of land companies and land specu-
lators, and not a little fraud in many of the dealings. An Indian might accept
forty dollars and a new suit of clothes, believing it was a down payment, only to
find later that he had signed his name or put his mark on a completed deed.
The purchasers of the land were in the main promoters who were reselling it
to midwestern farmers for the cultivation of flax, wheat, and other grain crops in
the first dry farming to be practiced on the reservation. Although the great
drought of the plains area began in 1924, it did not reach serious proportions until
the 193Q's, and the white farmers on the reservation continued to be successful up
to the financial crash of 1929.
It was during these years that the little towns of Wanblee, Batesland, and Mar-
tin flourished as marketing centers for the farming people. The white population
continued to increase on the reservation, and their influence upon the habits of
the Indians began to be discernible. Indians acquired a few milk cows, chickens,
and small farm livestock. The success of the white farmers encouraged the gov-
ernment to promote dry farming among the Indians. Seed and farm equipment
were issued through a system of reimbursable loans. Thus a new economy was
started on Pine Ridge; it proved to be both short-lived and disastrous.
RECENT ECONOMIC TRANSITION
The drought and depression of the 193Q's wiped out almost the last of the white
leases and the Indians* own efforts at dry farming or raising cattle. In one com-
munity, in 1931, the average cash income for a family of five was $152.80. 25 From
petty capitalists, which most of the population became after the sale of their cattle
herds and the leasing or sale of their lands, they now became poverty-stricken
dependents on charity*
After a year of Red Cross and federal direct relief, the Indians were given wage
work on relief projects. With the establishment of the Civilian Conservation
Corps in 1933, special projects were set up for the employment of Indians on
reservations. Since married men were enrolled in the Indian C.C.C., nearly all the
able-bodied men on the Sioux reservation were on the government pay roll. Thus,
as in some other very low income groups, the period of the depression was un-
doubtedly one of hardship, but the average income of the population was greatly
Increased. In the year 1939 the average individual income was $213.11, of which
50 per cent was supplied as relief wages and payments and commodities dis-
tributed by the federal government. 2 * The most lasting effect of this period has
been die experience of nearly all the men in a wage-work economy.
THE ROAD TO CIVILIZATION 41
In the last seven years the government has attempted to re-establish the Indians
in the cattle industry. After bitter experience the lesson has been definitely learned
that this is the only permanent economy possible on the reservation lands. Yet
re-establishing this economy has proved difficult. The problems arising from the
inheritance of land, past sales of land within natural cattle ranges, the limitation
of credit, and the greater attraction of relief wage work and recent wartime in-
dustry have all hampered the development of cattle ownership. It has been neces-
sary for Indians who start cattle operations to receive rations for a year or two to
support their families until their herds begin yielding an income.
In 1942 all C.C.C. work ended with the liquidation of the program. Thus many
Indian families faced for the first time in almost a decade the problem of sup-
porting themselves without wages or other assistance from the government. From
one point of view, this has been a fortunate event for the future adjustment of the
people, for they will never accept full responsibility for their own welfare until
they meet and solve their own problems of making a living, but many dfsloca-
tions and frustrations have accompanied the sudden change. Opportunities for
defense work off the reservation had already attracted many men, particularly the
former C.C.C. enrollees who had learned marketable skills. Other young men
have gone into the military services, a career still exciting and highly attractive to
the Sioux. Many of the families remaining on the reservation have received cattle
on a repayment basis in a rehabilitation program directed by the Agency. The
adjustment to this economy is far from completed as yet, but there are traditions
of the past and values in both the old culture and the adopted "cowboy culture"
that give promise of successful transition from one economy to another.
1. John R. S wanton, "Siouan Tribes and the Ohio Valley,'* American Anthropologist, XLV (1943),
2. George Hyde, Red Cloud's Fol\ (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937), p. 3.
3. Ibid., p. 6.
4. Ibid., p. 17. A band, possibly Teton, was living on the east bank of the Missouri near the present
site of Fairbanks, SJD., in 1743 (John C. Ewers, Teton Dakota Ethnology and History [rev. ed.j
Berkeley, Calif.; U.S. National Park Service, 1938], p. 87).
5. Ewers, op. cit.
6. Hyde, op. tit., p. 17. Ewers gives this date as 1742 or earlier.
7. Ewers (op. cit. t p. 87) gives this date as 1765.
8. Hyde (op. cit., p. 10) infers that they had guns before 1700. This is doubtful.
9. The Teton continued to use the bow and arrow to shoot buffalo after they acquired firearms,
because the sound of the guns frightened the herds (Scudder Mekeel, personal correspondence).
10. By the treaty of 1868, two-thirds of the Teton-Dakota were required to ratify any new agree-
ments with the United States government.
11. The first civilian agents to the Teton-Dakota were selected by the Episcopal church. This
arrangement was in force from 1870 to 1876, when the Army took over the Great Sioux Reservation.
In 1879 the Pine Ridge Agency was established and a civilian agent appointed without church spon-
sorship. This agent may therefore rightly be termed the first civilian agent to the Pine Ridge Indians.
42 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
12. Clark \Vissler, Xonh American Indians of the Plains (New York: American Museum of
Natural History, 1934), p. 124.
13. Robert Gessner, Massacre (New York: Cape & Smith, 1931), p. 417.
14. Scudder Mekeel, "A Short History of the Teton-Dakota," North Dakota Historical Quarterly, X
15. The agent is still called "father" today.
36. Luther Standing Bear, My People the Siou* (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1928), p. 277.
17. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Report , 1904.
18. U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, "Circular Letter 2970" (Washington, 1934).
19. Julia B. McGillycuddy, McGillycuddy Agent (Stanford University, Calif.: Stanford University
Press, 1941), p. 205. '
20. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Annual Report of the Commissioner, 1885. (Italics mine.)
21. Standing Bear, op. a'/., p. 242.
22. Allan Hulsizer, Region and Culture in the Curriculum of the Navaho and the Dakota (Federals-
burg, Md.: J. W. Stowell Co., 1940), p. 48.
24. W. O. Roberts, personal correspondence.
25. Scudder Mekeel, The Economy of a Modern Teton Dakota Community (New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, 1936), p. 9.
26. US. Office of Indian Affairs, "Statement of Relief and Government Provided for Indians,
MAKING A LIVING ON THE RESERVATION
ccc ccc gc- c ceo
IN TRACING the history of the Dakota, their economic adaptation through the
development of a livestock industry and the actions of the government which
upset this adaptation have been described in terms of local events on the
reservation. The economic history of the Pine Ridge Indians cannot be con-
sidered, however, as an isolated development. The local drama of economic
changes and misfortunes was part of national movements and the settling of the
West; it should be seen against the total setting of the history of the plains area.
It should also be appreciated that the changes which occurred were due to more
than the whims of government administration.
The history of the white man on the plains has been a story of exploitation of
the land, for which he has paid dearly in money, in social chaos, and in personal
insecurity. It was unavoidable that the Dakota in the midst of this area should also
be affected. The exploitation and climatic changes which occurred in the plains
area are still affecting the making of a living on the reservation.
EXPLOITATION OF THE PLAINS
Nature has been the primary determinant of how the resources of the plains
must be used by man if he wishes to remain there permanently. The climate is
characterized by heavy snows and extreme cold in winter and cloudless, burning
skies and extreme heat in summer. High winds blow across this country at all
seasons, bringing sudden changes in temperature and severe storms. Average
rainfall is twenty inches, but the amount varies greatly from year to year. Accom-
panying this great variation are cycles of dry and wet years, which bring periods
when wresting a livelihood from the land becomes highly precarious. Knowledge
of the sequence of these cycles has come only in recent years with studies stimu-
lated by the appearance of the Great Dust Bowl 1
The settlement of the plains began during a wet cycle, when cattlemen started
operations in the southern plains. They soon began moving their herds north until
they reached the Dakotas, which became the terminus of the cattle trails. This
movement began the exploitation of the northern plains. By 1890 the ranges of all
44 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
the plains were probably fully stocked; by 1934 they were 100 per cent over-
stocked. 2 Overgrazing left the soil exposed to erosion by the high winds.
Coverage was further depleted by the plows of the farmers who followed close
after the cattlemen. The first farming, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century,
met with great success, for in nearly every year the rainfall was plentiful. This
was the period of great westward movement of population, induced by success-
ful crop reports and the land advertisements of speculators and railroads. The
introduction of farm machinery, which permitted the cultivation of far greater
acreages, brought another expansion of dry farming on the plains about 1910.
Then came the inflation of wheat prices during World War I. Dry farms spread
like prairie fires, and vast acreages of grassland were plowed. Although this
reduced the cattle ranges, the herds were increased to meet wartime demands for
food supplies rather than decreased.
Economic collapse in 1921 and 1922 broke both the farming and the cattle
industries momentarily, but the exploitation of the soil continued. In 1924 began
the great drought, which reached its climax in the thirties. The damage to the
land from plowing and overgrazing had already been done. When the remaining
coverage failed from the lack of rain, the high winds swept down the plains and
blew the soil away.
As noted in chapter ii, after the first years of settling down to the new reserva-
tion life, the Pine Ridge Dakota made a good adjustment to a cattle economy.
From the reports of individual Indians, it appears that on the whole the people
were also making a good social and personal adjustment. The early development
of farming among the whites outside the reservation does not appear to have
affected the livelihood and economic practices of the Indians greatly, but the re-
surgence of dry farming about 1910 had a direct effect upon the reservation. Most
of the Pine Ridge Indians had received allotments by this time, but the remaining
large areas of unallotted land were now declared surplus by the government.
In 1911 the southeast quarter of the reservation, where only a small part of the
good farming land had been allotted, was opened up to homesteaders. This sec-
tion is now Bennett County. The homesteaders were kept out of the remaining
portion of the reservation, but the fact that lands were again being taken away for
the white man stirred the anxieties of the Indians.
This anxiety was increased by the leasing of the reservation ranges by white
cattlemen after 1916 and by the sale and leasing of allotments to wheat farmers in
the heretofore restricted counties. The alienation of Indian lands continued
through the onset of the depression and the great drought^ when white farmers
began to withdraw from the reservation. It ended with the enactment of the
Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Fortunately, the reservation land which was leased to white farmers or broken
MAKING A LIVING 45
up by Indians for dry farming was not exploited and plowed up beyond the point
of recovery by natural processes. 3 In a few districts severe erosion did take place,
but for the most part enough vegetative cover was left to retain the soil. Since the
drought, the natural grass has returned, and the future of the land as cattle range
THE USE OF THE LAND RESOURCES
The range land is the principal resource of the reservation. The economic pro-
gram sponsored by the Agency and the Tribal Council since 1937 has utilized it
by the raising of livestock. In 1943 the Indians owned and operated over 22,300
head of cattle. 4
The herds of horses also grazing on the Dakota range about 9,000 in 1942
form a very small economic asset. In the nomadic days horses were very important
to the Sioux both for hunting and warfare and for the prestige which they
brought to the owner. Today fewer horses are necessary for farm work and for
travel; their chief value lies in the prestige and pleasure they give, for most of them
are economically unnecessary and commercially valueless. Furthermore, they
utilize good pasturage which could be more productively used by cattle. Good
horses are, however, necessary for cattle herding, and in recent years stallions of
Morgan and other strains have been introduced through the Agency to raise the
quality of the horses for Livestock work. This improvement among the horse
herds should create a new market product for the Indians.
Various crops are produced on sections of the reservation not used for range.
On some land wild hay is grown as supplemental forage for cattle and horses.
Only 12 per cent of the Indian-owned reservation land is suitable for the raising
of wheat, corn, and other grain crops. 5 Hence grain farming will always remain a .
small part of the Indians' agricultural enterprises. In the past few years the gov-
ernment has developed two large irrigation projects which will increase the
amount of food raised for home use. All Indians are. encouraged to raise small
subsistence gardens, using the soil in the creek bottoms to which water can be
pumped. Cultivation of gardens and the canning of food have increased tre-
mendously in the past few years with the return of sufficient rainfall and favorable
WAGE WORK AND OTHER INCOME
The majority of Pine Ridge families have not yet become self-sufficient through
the utilization of their land resources. For many, in recent years, it has been neces-
sary to receive rations until their cattle begin to yield an income. Others have had
to undertake some form of wage work for part of the year in order to earn money
for the bare essentials of living. Many families work on the ranches and in the
46 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
potato and corn fields of the white farmers outside the reservation. This practice
became extensive during the 1920's, when many of the Indians had no other work
and received an insufficient income from the lease of their allotments.
With the current increased demand for farm labor, more Indians have become
farm workers than at any other time in their history. 6 Sugar-beet growers of South
Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado are sending labor recruiters into the
reservation and taking Indian workers and their families to the fields by busses.
This new type of agricultural work gives Indian families employment from early
summer through the late fall harvesting season. With the great increase of wage
rates, they are finding farm work a profitable occupation, particularly since the
whole family works in the fields. Even those who have gardens and large potato
or corn fields at home go out to work and return for a short time in the fall to do
their own harvesting.
The recent development of military air fields and ammunition depots at Rapid
City and other towns near the reservation has provided another new opportunity
for wage work. Many men who have not gone into the armed forces have found
employment in these construction centers. Those who received training in han-
dling machinery, laying cement, carpentry, and the like in the reservation C.C.C.
projects before the war were well prepared to enter this work at high wages. 7
There has also been much demand for unskilled labor, which has offered em-
ployment for all Indians who needed it. Although most of the Indian war workers
have gone to the areas near the reservation, many of the younger men have gone
to the shipyards on the West Coast, to the factories in Chicago and Detroit, and to
construction work in many parts of the country. Young girls have gone in groups
as far as Washington and Oregon to work in the dining-halls of the shipyards.
One effect of entering these new fields of work has been to give the Dakota a
feeling of being wanted and needed in white society and an experience of living
in close association with whites, although this experience has not always been
successful or happy. 8 Marry Dakota worked off the reservation during the last
war, but they did not leave in such large numbers or enter so many different and
highly skilled types of labor. Most of the present war workers are receiving the
highest incomes and enjoying the best food, clothes, and living conditions in their
Another effect of this new employment has been the withdrawal from, or the
postponement of, participation in the agricultural economy of the reservation on
the part of many families. By its higher and immediate returns, war work has
been more attractive than a small cattle herd. Since the wartime employment is
not expected to be permanent, it can be anticipated that most of those how at work
off the reservation will return in a few years to face a new economic readjustment.
Probably few of them will have savings to invest in a small cattle herd or farm,
DISTRICT COMMITTEE DISTRIBUTES RATIONS
: - 4u&!* j . tfplitegj, A*U, MO.
SEASONAL WAGE WORK IMPORTANT IN THE $458 AVERAGE ANNUAL INCOME
48 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
for reports and observations in 1942 and 1943 indicated that many were spending
all they earned and were intermittently employed. There have been difficulties of
adjustment to the requirements of war employment, the new living conditions,
and the layoffs at the end of construction projects. Many workers have already
returned to the reservation, exhausted their funds in travel or at home, and sub-
sequently departed for another job.
For those who have remained on the reservation, there has been a small amount
of wage work. The Agency offers some wage work to Indians for maintenance,
building roads, and driving school busses, but this work has been at a minimum
in 1942 and 1943, because of the sharp decrease in appropriations to the Indian
Some Indians still receive an income from the leasing of their allotments and
inherited lands to other Indians and white farmers. Their number is small, and
the income is seldom sufficient to maintain a family.
The sale of native craft articles has always brought a small income to a few fam-
ilies. At the instigation of the Education Division of the Indian Service, the
Dakota are reviving the manufacture of beaded buckskin articles and learning
to make pottery and weave cloth, which should in time add to the income from
In accordance with treaty agreements by which the Indians ceded lands, each
Dakota boy and girl of eighteen receives a gift from the Sioux Benefit Fund for
assistance in establishing a farm enterprise or a home. 9 In recent years the
individual payment has been about five hundred dollars. The recipient was re-
quired to make a budget of needs for starting out in life. The requests were us-
ually for cattle, horses, saddles, clothing, household furniture, a stove, wagon, or
farming equipment. Occasionally the benefit allotment was used for advanced or
The issuance of rations, originally made to all Indians in accordance with treaty
terms, is now limited to families in actual need. 10 All able-bodied family heads
are expected to perform some work in return for this food. Thus ration issue has
become a form of relief work. The Indians, however, do not regard rations as
relief but as rights established by treaty.
The needy who are sixty-five years old or over are entitled to old age assistance
payments from the state of South Dakota. Since most of the old people have no
source of income except small returns from leased land, the old age payments are
an important part of reservation income. Aid to the blind and aid to dependent
children, also administered by the state, are other sources of income to the Pine
MAKING A LIVING 49
The Dakota receive other aids which relieve them of many expenses and make
their low annual income not quite so inadequate as the figures by themselves
imply. Younger children at school receive clothing in exchange for their parents'
work. All day-school children receive a noon meal, and those at the boarding
school receive full care, relieving their families of nearly all expense for them
during eight months of the year. Hospitalization and the services of doctors,
dentists, and field nurses are provided by the Health Division of the Indian
Service. Living on federal trust land releases the Dakota from any land tax
obligation, but the state taxes owners of fee-patented allotments.
The pursuits and time devoted to various fields of labor vary so widely that
statistics can be considered only general estimates in presenting the picture of fam-
ily income. The mean family income on Pine Ridge for 1942 was $457.90. 11 As
noted in chapter ii, this is a great increase over the early depression years, when
average family income in one community (neither the poorest nor wealthiest on
the reservation) was $152.80. The increase in income over the ten-year period is
primarily due to wage work, but the cattle industry has also contributed sub-
Despite this increase and allowing for the provision of various services by the
government, incomes on the reservation are still very low. Total income of in-
dividuals in 1942, as reported by the Office of Indian Affairs, was $1,029,823, or
about $120 per capita. 12 For the state of South Dakota in the same year, the per
capita income was $725. 1S Even allowing for the fact that the state figure includes
urban families and for the general difference in living costs, the Indian income is
very low. In Mississippi, which ranked lowest of all states in 1942 and where
income of the Negro group pulls down the average, per capita income was $407. 14
The mean family income of about $458 for Pine Ridge in 1940 may be compared
with the average gross value of products produced on farms in the neighboring
nonreservation counties in 1940, which ranged from $837 to $1,063. 15 Both types of
comparison are, of course, very rough indeed, but in spite of probable errors the
wide difference between Indian and white income is strikingly apparent.
Analysis of the total income for Pine Ridge in 1942 shows that, of the total
reservation income, 60 per cent was earned and 40 per cent unearned. 16 The
largest single item was for wages, 43 per cent of the total; second, relief payments
in cash or expended relief commodities, 25 per cent; third, agricultural receipts
(predominantly from livestock and livestock products), 16 per cent; fourth,
receipts from leased lands and tribal payments, 14 per cent; and miscellaneous, 2 %
per cent. 17 The C.C.C. wages were stopped on July 1, 1942, and many of the
relief wage-workers went off the reservation for employment. The amount earned
50 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
and the number of workers in farm and industrial labor will undoubtedly increase
as high wages and the demand for workers continue under war conditions.
Labor then must be regarded as one of the great resources of the reservation. The
importance of this fact to the adjustment of Indians to changing social conditions
must not be underestimated.
The sources of income of Pine Ridge Dakota are highly significant. When the
preceding figures are resolved into categories of income derived from government
sources, reservation resources, and private or non-Indian sources, the present
extent of dependency upon the government becomes apparent. From all govern-
ment sources, including wages and federal and state relief, the Pine Ridge Indians
received 52 per cent of their income in 1942. From the resources of the reservation,
including livestock and farming enterprises, individual leasing of land, timber
sales, and annuities, the Pine Ridge people received 29 per cent of their income.
From wages paid by non-Indian employers, the great majority being outside the
reservation, the Pine Ridge Indians received 19 per cent of their income.
These figures should change significantly for 1943 and 1944, with the liquida-
tion of the C.C.C. and the increase of Indian employment in industrial centers.
Nevertheless, the figures reveal the supporting cushion that government opera-
tions and aid create in the economic adjustment of the Indians. Furthermore, in
the present Pine Ridge economy less than one-third of all income now comes
from the land resources, and wage work has become the most available and
desirable single form of making a living. For a population living in a strictly rural
area, where opportunities for industrial and agricultural wage work are normally
very limited or irregular, a satisfactory permanent economic adjustment based on
wage work becomes problematical.
1. Great Plains Committee, The future of the Great Plains (Washington: Government Printing
Office, 1936), p. 3.
2. Ib'id., p. 4.
3. U.S. Soil Conservation Service, "Reconnaissance Survey of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation,
South Dakota" (Denver, Colo.: Technical Cooperation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1938), p. 7.
4. US. Office of Indian Affairs, "Reservation Program, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation" (1944),
p. 11. (Mimeographed.)
5. Ibid., p. 7.
6. See John Useem, Gordon Macgregor, and Ruth Useem, "Wartime Employment and Cultural
Adjustments of the Rosebud Sioux," Allied Anthropology, II (1943), 1.
7. The C.C.C. project employment was the first experience of wage work for most families on the
reservation (see chap. ii).
8. The adjustment of Dakota in towns and cities is described in chap. xi.
9. Granted originally with an allotment of land by the Act of 1889, which stipulated two cows,
two oxen or horses, harness, farm equipment, and the like for every head of a family or single person
eighteen or more years old. These payments have been continued to all persons on reaching their
eighteenth birthday, under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. When the remaining surplus land
on which technical allotments are being made is exhausted, Sioux Benefit Fund payments will end.
MAKING A LIVING 51
These allotments are made to cover legal requirements and are an exception to the general policy of
the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
10. Beginning in 1944, the year after this study was made, rations were no longer issued in kind
but through purchase orders on local merchants.
11. U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Individual Income, Resident Population, 1942 (Washington,
1943), Table D.
12. Ibid., Table A.
13. Daniel Creamer and Charles F. Schwartz, "State Income Payments in 1942," Survey of Current
Business, XXII (1943), 11.
15. U.S. Census, 1940, Agriculture, Vol. II. Part I, pp. 727-33, and Housing, Vol. II, Part V, pp. 124-
37. Neighboring nonreservation counties are Bennett, Jackson, Jones, and Mellette. Value of gross
product was used rather than net farm income, since the former includes the value of products used
on the farm, and food produced at home is important "income" to Indians. Number of farm dwellings
was used as a base, rather than number of farms or number of farms reporting, since many farm
dwellings are occupied by families of laborers whose status is comparable to that of many Indians. If
number of farms reporting were used as a base, average product per farm for neighboring non-
reservation counties would range from $1,181 to $1,367.
16. U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Individual Income, Resident Population, 1942, Table D.
17. The income received from wages requires some qualifications, for it includes wages from
regular and irregular Agency pay rolls, work-relief projects, and private or non-Indian employment.
The last item was roughly estimated, as there was no way to check the amount earned from all farm,
industrial, and war-project employment.
THE DAKOTA FAMILY
f y> UNDERSTAND the social and cultural position and the behavior and attitudes
I of the Pine Ridge Indians, it is necessary to know in some detail the former
JL family and tribal organization from which the present reservation society
has developed. The social organization of the Teton-Dakota changed after they
came onto the plains and never became thoroughly stabilized. Roaming bands
and family groups changed their allegiances to the larger divisions at will; and,
at the beginning of the reservation era, leaders sprang up to create new bands,
adding confusion to the limited picture we have of the old social structure.
Historical records and information gained from old men on the reservation at
the beginning of the twentieth century indicate that the Teton-Dakota society was
probably organized somewhat as follows. 1 The fundamental social unit was the
biological family, but the family always lived with from ten to twenty related
families in a small band or tiyofyaye. The band formed an extended bilateral
family or group of people related by blood and reckoning descent through both
the male and the female lines. The main biological family of the tiyosfaye was
that of the chief, and all other families were related to it. In the old bands the
families were usually related through the male line, for men commonly brought
their wives from other bands to their family group. Occasionally the band in-
cluded other families who joined either to escape some unpleasant social pressure
or to become the followers of a renowned warrior. There were also larger bands
of related and unrelated extended families, which maintained social unity the
The bands customarily camped separately during the wintertime, but late each
spring groups of bands joined in a camp circle or encampment for their annual
religious ceremonial, the Sun Dance, and for the co-operative buffalo hunts. War
parties were made up from men of one or several summer encampments. Each
band camped in its assigned section of the circle, the band with the leading chief
of the encampment pitching their tepees in the section opposite the camp en-
trance. The encampments are not always defined in descriptions of Dakota social
organization because they were not permanent the year round and were con-
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 53
stantly shifting in band membership. This was particularly true o the period of
Indian wars with the United States Army and the first settlement at the agencies.
The encampments are also confused in historical literature with the smaller bands
and sometimes with the larger subtribes.
The subtribe was one of the traditional divisions of the Teton-Dakota tribe. In
their eastern homeland in Minnesota it is supposed that the seven subtribes of the
Teton-Dakota (Oglala, Brule, Sans Arcs, Minneconjou, Two Kettles, Hunkpapa,
Blackfeet) once lived together, possibly as seven gentes of an original tribe. By the
time the Teton-Dakota became dominant on the plains of South Dakota and
Wyoming, the seven subtribes were independent of each other. This was partic-
ularly true of the Oglala and the Brule, each of which was later split into two
divisions. 2 The organization of the subtribes became more confused during the
historical period when bands and encampments from one or another joined to-
gether in defense or to make war against the United States Army and later settled,
regardless of their origin, at the first agencies.
Today there is no tribal organization of the Teton-Dakota, and the subtribes
and odd bands settled on the reservations have become new tribes or social
groups. For example, the Oglala and Brule and families from other Dakota sub-
tribes who came into the last Red Cloud Agency and were moved to Pine Ridge 3
have now become the Pine Ridge Indians. The tiyospaye is the only social unit
particularly characteristic of the former Teton-Dakota social structure which has
remained important in the reservation society.
The Teton had a governmental organization, which was developed only among
the encampments. The political pattern of one Oglala group was organized in
the following manner. 4 The main political body was the Chiefs' Society composed
of the heads and leaders, forty years of age or older, who elected their own
members. This society elected the Seven Chiefs of the Tribe, who held office for
life. The position was partially hereditary, as it was the practice to elect a son or
.younger relative to fill the vacancy of a deceased chief. These seven chiefs ap-
pointed the Four Shirt Wearers, the real councilors of the division, who also held
office for life but could resign their position.
Four executive officers of the encampment, the wakicun, were also appointed
by the Seven Chiefs of the Tribe to hold office for a year. It was the particular
function of this group to organize and control the camp.
The four wakjcun selected two messengers, a herald, and two afycita, or head
police, who in turn selected two others to serve with them. The obicita selected a
body of police, or designated a group in one of the men's societies* to serve as such,
to keep order in the camp. These police had much authority and disciplined
severely those who upset camp life, even to killing a murderer. On the buffalo
54 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
hunt this group kept the hunters in order, so that no greedy or overexcited person
would run in and stampede the herd.
In each encampment were men's societies, one group from which the police
were selected, a second group to which headmen belonged, and a third group of
warriors. New members were elected by each society in a secret meeting, and one
man might belong to several. Membership in these societies was one means of re-
warding the brave in battle and the co-operative in camp life. A second function
of the societies was the distribution of property by which members honored others
and helped the aged and unfortunate.
This social organization was democratic in that all heads of family groups par-
ticipated in the council and in the annual election of camp officers. There is some
evidence to show that the four watyctm were the original heads of the encamp-
ment and that the great war chiefs were a development that came after the first
contacts with whites in the eighteenth century. Men like Red Cloud, who achieved
a great reputation during the fighting with the whites in the middle of the nine-
teenth century, were classed as "chiefs," although originally within the encamp-
ment organization they were only warriors who became temporary leaders during
THE SYSTEM OF RELATIONSHIPS AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
An understanding of the organization and functioning of the biological and
extended families and the modern communities rests upon a full understanding
of the kinship system, which dictates relationships and the mode of social behavior
between individuals of the society and thus has an important part in developing
the social character of the individual. 5 to the Teton-Dakota, social relationships
were and are the most important thing "in life, a value which is held by many
people in white society but is frequently overshadowed by the importance of ma-
terial things. Expressing proper social relationships, kindness, friendliness, and
considerateness 6 is the chief source of happiness of the Dakota and the means of
feeling that they belong and are accepted in their group. The individual learns
his relationships to other people, and the behavior he is expected to show to them,
in the home.
Relatives are classified according to their generation, regardless of whether they
are related through the father's or the mother's line. Collateral and lineal relatives
are also classed together; for example, the father's brother is called "father" and
the mother's sister is called "mother." When the relative is of another sex than the
person through whom he is related, the kinship term signifies this fact: the
father's brother is called "father," but the mother's brother is spoken of by another
term. Children of father's brothers and mother's sisters are called "brothers" and
"sisters," but those of father's sisters and mother's brothers are given different
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 55
terms, which may be freely translated as "cousins." Children of brothers and
sisters (in the Dakota sense) are sons and daughters, and children of "cousins"
are "nephews" and "nieces." All the grandparent generations on both sides are
merged together, with only difference in sex designated in the kinship terminol-
The basis of relationships and social interaction within the kinship system was
and is respect. The forms of showing respect have changed, but the essential prin-
ciple is the same. In the old days the expression of respect varied according to the
type of relationship one held to another individual. Thus toward one's blood
brothers and those who became blood brothers through ceremonial adoption,
respect was shown in affection and in complete loyalty on all occasions. Respect
heightened by filial devotion marked the behavior extended to one's parents, their
brothers and sisters, and one's grandparents. The respect shown between brother
and sister was observed by complete avoidance of all face-to-face relations, a
practice which was one Dakota method of preventing incest. Respect was posi-
tively shown by a brother in giving to his sister his best war trophies, and by a
sister in making moccasins for her brother and the cradle-packs for his children.
Toward one's mate, sexual love and respect were natural and expected. Sexual
love of a man for his sister-in-law and of a woman for her brother-in-law was
acceptable because no blood relationship existed between them. In the old society
it was therefore considered proper for a man to marry his wife's sisters or his
brothers' widows even though he already had a wife, but love of and marriage to
one individual were considered more virtuous. Known cases of a man's marrying
several sisters were in the minority. Yet because an individual could consider
brothers-in-law or sisters-in-law potential mates, there was always the possibility
of sexual tension and sexual relationships. The kinship system offered some re-
lease for this by permitting a joking relationship which included jokes about sex
between brothers- and sisters-in-law.
The relationship between brothers-in-law also brought potential conflict because
of the differences in their attitudes toward the woman through whom they were
related. One behaved with great respect and avoided anything suggestive of sex
toward the woman, as a sister, whereas the other enjoyed intimate relations with
her as his wife. This conflict was also released through camaraderie and joking
in which brothers-in-law were expected to participate, especially in public.
A man's attitude toward his parents-in-law was one o extreme respect, which
became complete avoidance in relation to his mother-in-law because the two in-
dividuals concerned were of different generation and sex and because the nature
of their relationships to the wife differed. A woman observed corresponding
forms of behavior toward her male and female in-laws.
The actual behavior of relatives today has been greatly modified by the changed
56 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
economy and social life and the influences o the white social system. The modifi-
cation seems to be toward the behavior pattern of the white family; but the Indian
pattern has not been completely abandoned, and it gives insight into the con-
temporary social structure on Pine Ridge.
THE BIOLOGICAL FAMILY
The biological family of father, mother, and children merged with the ex-
tended family group with which it lived, hunted, and shared its food and social
life. It was not the exclusively important group, as it is regarded usually by white
people. Today, however, the individual family has risen in importance, largely
because it has become the essential economic unit in the livestock, farming, and
wage-work economies which the Pine Ridge Indians have successively followed
on the reservation. The individual family was also forced into greater importance
because of the white man's administration, which dealt directly with these units
following the concept of white social organization. Although cattle and land
were issued to individuals, it was expected that they would be operated and
utilized by the biological family.
The family now lives with greater independence of related families in its own
farm home. The father, as head of the family, is usually its chief support, but, as
noted in previous chapters, his work is often irregular and not usually devoted
to a single occupation. The circumstances which have made it impossible for the
men to work steadily as cattlemen or farm laborers or to produce a regular
income have affected their status and respect within their own families. Fre-
quently it has been necessary for the mothers to earn wages to keep the family fed
and clothed. This has increased the importance of the mother in the family, a
change which has altered the children's relationships to both parents. The new
relationships are particularly apparent in the present training of the children in
the home and development of children's personalities which are to be described
in detail in following parts of the study.
The ideal parent-child relationship among the Dakota is and always has been
one of deep-seated affection; the small child is granted almost complete indul-
gence, which develops in him an affectionate loyalty to the parents. From an early
age, the parents regard the child as an individual with responsibility for his own
actions and in return they demand from him much co-operation. Most training
is accomplished by rewarding the child for doing the desired thing.
As the child grows older, his parents' respect for his individuality and his
responsibility to himself increases. 7 Mothers plead with fairly young children to
give up school for a few days and go to a dance with them. The respect for the
child's independence and decisions is most marked. Mothers say: "I ask her
opinion.*' "You know she is eighteen years old and a woman of her own. If she
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 57
don't go back to school, I can't help it." "I didn't because my boy didn't want
Formerly the father assumed some of the training and disciplining of the boys,
which was the basis of an intimate bond. This most important relationship be-
tween father and son developing from the training of a boy for his economic
and social role has been badly dislocated by cultural changes. Compared to their
position in the former nomadic life, the majority of fathers have no career aijd
little social role to which they can introduce a son. A man may have a small herd
of cattle or horses which a boy learns to care for early in his life, but there are
now few special techniques which the father can pass on to his son. By the time a
boy is fourteen or fifteen he can compete with his father as a common wage-
earner. The father's role of teacher has been minimized not only by the disappear-
ance of the men's former occupations and goals in life but also by the introduction
of schools among the Dakota. Even the fathers who do not desire the white man's
life for themselves appreciate the fact that it will be to their children's advantage
to understand this way of living. They want the school to give their children such
understanding and send them to school with this expectation.
The boy growing up in a Dakota family today does not appreciate the differ-
ence in the relationship that exists between his father and himself and that which
existed between his great-grandfather and grandfather. He does, however, become
aware of his father's lack of a continuous occupation and of the absence of a real
career in which his father and the men of his community might offer him some
participation. They have given him social drives, but modern Indian society offers
little reward that produces a feeling of achievement. He has been pushed to early
adulthood. Arriving at its threshold, he finds himself on an equal footing with
the men of his community but, like them, without status or life-purpose.
The mother is the center of the present-day family, because she has assumed
greater responsibility for its direction and support. The mother's role has also
gained by the present isolation of the individual household. Formerly the family
lived in a camp with several other related families, with whom the child associated
freely. Now the child living in a farmhouse on an allotment is forced to spend
much more time with his own family and especially with his mother. One small
full-blood boy described very aptly the mother's position in the family by pointing
to an ear of corn which had six small kernels sprouting from one end, "Mother,
the ear o corn is like you, and the little things are the children."
The early attachment to the mother often becomes so strong that it is carried
through adulthood. One man states, "My son gets lonesome when he is away
from his mother." "My wife is that way, too," he adds complainingly; "she does
58 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
not like to live away from her folks. I have a nice place, but she is like a sucking
colt to stay so close to her mother." Mother-daughter relationship is commonly a
very lasting one, and, after marriage, the daughter is constantly returning home
to visit, to have her babies, or to help her mother in emergencies.
Although the observed mother-child relationships appear in general to be very
pleasant and close to the ideal of affection and respect, there are mothers whose
relationships to their children are bad according to Dakota standards and those of
gpod mental hygiene as well. Observers in this study heard mothers call their
children "dumb," "crazy," or a "crybaby." One mother had to be stopped by the
school principal from beating her child with her fists, because she heard that a
teacher called the child "Public Enemy No. 1." Enraged little boys were also
seen striking their mothers.
There are other mothers who appear indifferent toward their childen. Two
small childen were found who did not know their mother, although they lived at
their grandmother's home less than five miles away from her. Some mothers
have deserted their husbands and children to live with other men. On the other
hand, children who find relationships with their mothers intolerable run away to
live with other relatives. Children were permitted to leave their tepees in the
old days, but such behavior in the old culture was considered a great affront to the
parent's reputation. 8 The frequency with which children are now voluntarily
living away from their parents' home without disapproval by the adults may be
looked upon as symptomatic of cultural breakdown.
The stepmother has now entered the Teton-Dakota kinship system as -an
important factor. In the former society where it was the practice to marry one's
wife's sisters, children whose mother had died found someone, whom they already
called mother, ready to take the real mother's place. Plural marriage and the
ctistom of marrying the deceased wife's sisters are no longer common practice.
Today stepmothers are often strange and unrelated to the children, and the rela-
tionships between them are not always happy ones. The stereotyped attitude to-
ward the stepmother in white society is being accepted by some Dakota. One
woman said to an interviewer in this study, "Stepmothers are supposed to be
mean." Although some stepmothers have proved to be very affectionate, it is
quite common among older children to go to the home of an aunt or grand-
mother or leave the reservation when a stepmother enters the home. Very often, a
family attempts to solve the friction by sending the children to a boarding school.
In cases of separation from their wives, fathers often seem particularly indiffer-
ent about their children, leaving them for the wife or grandparents to support,
without regard for the wife's or grandmother's ability to do so. In leaving the
children with the wife, the fathers are following customary practice, but in the
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 59
past there were the wife's relatives and the families of her band circle to help feed
a few more mouths.
The relationship between brothers has been described as the strongest in the
Teton-Dakota kinship system. 9 This is still manifest, and brothers are close com-
rades and playmates. 10 In the former life the older brother undertook the training
of the younger in many of the technical skills of men. Brothers today retain their
close attachment throughout life, helping one another in the fields, sharing food,
and bringing their children to one another's homes. In a crisis brothers join forces
as they did in the past. One Indian stockman said, "If I have trouble with some-
body, then all my brothers here would come to help me, and there would be
The relationship between sisters has always been similar to that between
brothers. If sisters live in the same community, they usually maintain an intimate
friendship all their lives. The strongest devotion is expressed by accepting the
care of the other's children, particularly at the death of one sister. Sisters, like
brothers, are close playmates where the age differences are not great. The group
of ^sisters also includes the girl cousins, some of whom are called "sister" in the
Dakota kinship system.
The present behavior between brother and sister is one of the most marked
changes from the kinship pattern of the former culture. The old avoidance has
disappeared, but mutual respect is still observed. Little girls of six or seven, who
were formerly taught to avoid their brothers, now may sleep in the same bed with
them. They ride to school in the same busses, they play and fight together, and
older brothers even accompany younger sisters to dances when their parents can-
not act as chaperons. Loyalty to the sister is still strong. This was observed in the
present study in the fights of young boys over insults to their sisters and in the
behavior of an older man who attempted to avenge his sister's murder. The pat-
tern is approaching that of white children in both the mixed-blood and the full-
blood families, but the taboo against intimacy between brother and sister is not
lost entirely among the latter. In the modern Rabbit Dance, performed by couples,
neither full-blood brothers and sisters nor those classed as such in the Sioux
kinship system will dance together.
The baby of the family is always privileged and deferred to by the older chil-
dren and by the parents. In the interviews with parents, comments were con-
stantly made about the youngest child in the family, and interviewers often
observed the "babying" of the youngest child. Once a little girl was seen pulling
a toilet pot from under her older brother, making him sit down hard. He im-
mediately pulled her to the floor. Instead of rebuking the instigator, the mother's
60 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
reaction was, <k Shame on you. You pulled her down and she's just little." This
petting of the youngest child continues beyond infancy for the one who is never
superseded by later additions to the family. Older children share candy, food, and
toys with the youngest child more than they do with each other. An older sister
was seen to leave the room where she was reading rather than correct her youngest
sister of eight who was pushing a toad at her. O an eleven-year-old girl, her
mother said, "The other children made a lot of her because she is the baby." Age
differences also make some differences in parents' attitudes. Another mother
said: "I guess she is spoiled. There was four years between her [the last] and the
THE EXTENDED FAMILY
The Dakota still do not draw as distinct a line as do white people between the
family of father, mother, and children and the group of relatives consisting of
grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, and more
distant blood relations who form the extended family. In the old extended family
group or tiyospaye camp, a man's tepee usually stood next to that of his married
brother, and in front might be the tepee of a married son. Family homes are
geographically widely separated today in comparison with the band camp, and
the associations within an extended group are less frequent and intensive; but
the individual usually does have a few members of his extended family close by.
Grandparents may be living in a tent beside the house, with brothers or sisters
as the nearest neighbors. Frequently a relative not belonging to the biological
family may be living in the home. All these relatives in the family circle for the
most part continue to maintain the relationships of the kinship system.
The grandparents exemplify the ideal of kindliness and generosity of the old
Sioux culture. The grandfather, formerly a counselor to the young, still attempts
to continue this function, but his prestige has declined because he can no longer
participate in activities formerly carried on by the older men and because he does
not understand the changing ways,
The grandmother who was a "second mother" in the old society, taking over
the hard work of the household for her daughters during their childbearing pe-
riod and sharing the care of the new grandchildren, 11 continues this role today.
Her major responsibility is looking after the smaller children when the parents
are busy. This may last at times for several weeks while the parents are working
in the harvest fields. The affection of the grandmother and her freedom from the
permanent and complete responsibility for the children make for an exceedingly
pleasant and lifelong relationship. Adult grandchildren reciprocate her devotion
during their early childhood by sending home money and gifts to "the old peo-
62 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
The grandmother who will give or do anything for her grandchild is a person
to whom the child turns when in need and in times of crisis. When a divorced
person finds his children difficult to care for, he usually regards the grandmother's
home as a place where they may be left. The generosity and kindness of the
grandmother are sometimes abused by young people, who, when they are old
enough to support themselves, will visit grandparents for a long period of time
without contributing to the household and expect to be supported by the old
people's rations or old age assistance check.
It is difficult to ascertain how much of the kinship terminology that embraces
the extended family is now used by the present youngest generation, for they
have learned English terminology, which they use in the presence of white peo-
ple. Some children draw a clear distinction by saying to a white person, "That is
my father of course, he is really only my uncle but we call him 'father* in
Indian." Another child will say, "My mother is here for me," if he believes this
is the stronger argument for being excused from class, but in another circumstance
he will mention the same individual as his aunt. Other children use the English
kinship terms at home, calling the "fathers" and "mothers" of the extended family
"uncles" and "aunts" and behaving toward them differently than toward their
own fathers and mothers. This change is more marked among the mixed-blood
people, because of their greater use of English and the classifications which white
relatives make. The adoption of English kinship terminology appears to be a
strong factor in breaking down the ties and behavior patterns of the extended
Among full-blood families which still speak Siouan, the language aids in the
preservation of the old terminology and related behavior. When members of the
extended family live as neighbors, they continue to act according to the role of
their relationship position. Thus a child born into such a group receives treatment
as a son, a grandson, or a brother from those he is taught to call "father," "grand-
father," or "brother." If the younger people appear lax in this behavior, a
grandparent will often reprimand them for not adhering to the Indian way.
THE CONJUGAL FAMILY
Under the old kinship system, when an individual married, he acquired a new
set of relatives the affinal toward whom he observed a prescribed form of be-
havior based on his relationship to a person of the opposite sex of another family
and on potential sex relationships and ensuing conflicts with his relatives. The
behavior of a young man and woman before marriage and as a husband or wife
is now markedly different from that which they observed two or three genera-
tions ago. Courtship is no longer conducted under severe chaperonage or in
momentary escapes from it. Friendship and congeniality have usually developed
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 63
between the couple at school or in the neighborhood, and the feeling o being
strangers to each other that formerly existed is overcome.
Marriages are now made with little or no family sanction or symbolic expression
of contract between the two families or the two persons involved. Formerly the
man made gifts to the girl's parents, and his father's sisters and mother's brothers'
wives equipped the new tepee of the couple with the necessary furnishings. Mar-
riages of social importance were celebrated with an elaborate feast and religious
performance. Today, the couple are married by a local missionary or a justice of
the peace outside the reservation. The couple are more likely to announce that
they are going to be married than to ask permission, and the man makes no gift
It is usual for the couple to live at first with the parents of one or the other. The
custom of the bride's gradually entering into the women's work of her husband's
home or, if in her own home, of transferring the heavy household work to her
mother and devoting her time to the lighter craftwork, has disappeared. Most
couples soon establish a home of their own and often leave the reservation for
This change toward the independence of the young married couple is not
being made, however, without some tension between the couple or with their
own families. The co-operation of a strongly knit extended family is still an
ideal. The desire of the man to set up an economcially independent home may
conflict with his wife's desire to be near or with her relatives. 12 This may be over-
come by constant visiting or returning to live among her people. Similarly, a man
who has attempted to keep a job or operate a farm independently may feel com-
pelled to return to the family homestead to help out.
The high respect and avoidance patterns between persons of different genera-
tions who are related through marriage have been described previously. This com-
plete formality was not observed in any of the homes during the field work of
this study, yet the feeling of distance, particularly by older women toward their
sons-in-law, was occasionally apparent. Some women would address a son-in-law
.only on trivial matters or in an unavoidable emergency. One woman was seen
shouting directions from a distance to her son-in-law who was building her a
house, because there was no one to relay her wishes. The restriction upon in-laws
of different generations and sex traveling or appearing in public together is in
greater force, revealing that any suggestion of intimacy is still regarded as im-
proper. The fact that the parents frequently live in a tent beside the home of one
of their married children may be an effort to observe a certain amount of avoid-
ance. The strength of this old avoidance taboo now varies from family to family.
Sons- and daughters-in-law seen sitting in the homes conversing with the older
people indicate that this pattern of avoidance among them is passing.
64 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
The relationship and pattern of public joking between brothers- and sisters-in-
law is also varying with the changing marital relationships. Although the privi-
lege of the joking relationship is utilized by some men as a sexual outlet toward
sisters-in-law, the ideal relationship now rests upon the respect held for a sister
and another man's wife. However, the old attitude that a sister-in-law was a
potential mate and an individual with whom one might joke on sexual matters
has led to illicit sex relations. Some women openly live with their husband's
brothers while the husbands are absent and even boast that some of their children
were born of such affairs.
The loyalty and co-operation that one gives and expects from blood relatives
continues to function between relatives by marriage in the same generation. This
extends beyond immediate brother- and sister-in-law. Remarks are commonly
heard, such as, "My sister-in-law's brother took care of my cattle while I was
away," or "My boy is helping So-and-so. He is my sister-in-law's sister's son; that
is why he is helping him." These indicate that even the extended affinal relation-
ships are still counted upon.
The most notable aspect of in-law relationships that comes to light from inter-
views is the expression of hostility. This is undoubtedly not new to the Teton-
Dakota, for affinal relatives have always been outsiders to the extended family and
have been received at least with reservations by some members. One function of
the old avoidance pattern was to control such outbreaks. Some older women today
pride themselves in never criticizing or even discussing with a daughter-in-law
her affairs, even though a divorce may be imminent. However, these older women
will freely gossip with others about their daughter-in-law's behavior. Misbehavior
of children, accidents, and even death are openly traced to the daughter-in-law or
son-in-law and other individuals in the affinal set of relatives. In this behavior
there appears the solidarity felt toward one's own extended family and the po-
tential jealousy and resentment felt toward other relatives with whom the only
connection is through marriage.
1. Dakota social organization has been treated more fully by Donald Collier, "Plains Camping
Groups" (MS) ; Scudder Mekeel, The Economy of a Modern Teton Dakota Community (New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1936) ; Jeannette Mirsky, "The Dakota," in Cooperation and Competi-
tion among Primitive Peoples, ed. Margaret Mead (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1937);
Clark Wissler, Societies and Ceremonial Associations of the Oglala Division of the Teton-Dakpta
(New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1912).
2. George Hyde, Red Cloud's Fol% (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937), p. 11.
3. See chap. ii.
4. Wissler, op. at., chap. i.
5. This section is based largely upon information from Fred Eggan, 'The Cheyenne and Arapaho
Kinship System," in Social Anthropology of North American Tribes, ed. Fred Eggan (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1937); Royal B. Hassrick, "The Teton-Dakota Kinship System" (MS);
and Mirsky, op. at.
THE DAKOTA FAMILY 65
6. Such behavior was given supernatural sanction by the White Buffalo Maiden in the mythical
ceremony described in the section on Dakota ceremonies in chap. vii. See also the section on standards
for women in chap. viii.
7. This respect for the child's accountability to himself for his own actions is difficult for white
people to understand and is often interpreted by them as indifference on the part of Indian parents to
their child's behavior. Parents do not force their children to conform because "mother knows best"
or to avoid damaging the parents' reputation or self-esteem. A child who runs away from school is
usually not asked why he came home. Likewise, the grown son who leaves the reservation and is not
heard from for years is rarely questioned on his return about what he has been doing.
8. Cf. Mirsky, op. tit., p. 425.
9. Ibid., pp. 394-95.
10. This is also true today of "brothers" in the extended family.
11. Mirsky, of. tit., p. 397.
12. See the previous section of this chapter on the bond between mother and children.
C HA P T E R V
NOWADAYS the old tiyospaye no longer exist as organized units, but they are
the bases of most of the rural communities. There are also on the reserva-
tion communities of related mixed-blood people and villages which have
not developed from the native social groups. The difference in origin of full-blood
and mixed-blood communities can be found in the desire to cling to either Indian
or white lines of descent and ways of living.
THE FULL-BLOOD RURAL COMMUNITIES
As people from the eastern woodland area, the Teton-Dakota were undoubtedly
drawn to the wooded creek valleys for their camp sites when they first entered
the plains. Fuel and water were plentiful, and the cottonwood and elder growth
offered shelter from the high winds. When the Indians spread from their first
camp at the Agency over the reservation in the 1880's, they settled by bands along
creeks according to custom. The new band camps were not maintained for long,
however, for individual families began building permanent homes up and down
the creeks. The extended family group which formerly erected its lodges together
now stretched in a line of separated homes. When a family increased, an older
man might take his children and perhaps the families of his brothers and sisters
to some distance below the original band site or to another creek and form an-
other group, which ultimately developed into a separate community. This fol-
lowed the process by which new bands were created in the former society. Most
of the present-day reservation communities are thus derived from original bands. 1
The first reservation camp sites chosen by a band may be marked now by the
old chiefs house, which was built by the government, or by a round dance hall.
Such is the case in the Kyle area, where the major part of the present study was
undertaken. A few houses have been built near the old sites, but there is no evi-
dence of anything resembling a village or clustering of the homes of the descend-
ants of the band. In one Kyle community, American Horse, a son of the old band
chief lives in the two-story frame house built for his father. His brothers and
sisters live in log cabins on their individual allotments a quarter to a full mile apart
RESERVATION COMMUNITIES 67
along the creek. Below them is the home of a white rancher who leases Indian
land. Continuing down the creek for ten or twelve miles are the homes of Indian
families, each now on its allotment. Every three or four homes belong to a group
of brothers and sisters and their families, forming an extended family neighbor-
This pattern of the extended family living on adjoining lands was created in
part by the allotment system, when a man, his wife, and children received adjoin-
ing allotments of land. As the children grew up and married, they built their
homes on their own allotments, thereby retaining the family grouping and estab-
lishing a family neighborhood. Other members of the original band also received
allotments along the same creek, so that the descendants of the band have main-
tained a community grouping. All these families can trace their common relation-
ship to the original large extended family group; but, with each new generation
and the growing importance of the individual family, the common relationship
becomes weaker and less meaningful. The new family neighborhoods are devel-
oping into independent extended family groups.
A second distinct community in the Kyle area was formed by Thunder Bull,
a lesser chief of the American Horse band. He led his immediate relatives from the
first camp site to another creek where they and their descendants received their
A third community of the Kyle area is composed of the descendants of the band
of Little Wound, one of the leading chiefs of the Oglala. This community is now
spread over a long valley drained by two creeks. Along these creeks there are
developing new extended family groups which are becoming independent of the
larger community. One of these groups, whose members are nearly all full-bloods,
has formed a cattle association and has pooled land for a joint range. All the men
of this association are relatives either by blood or by marriage. This particular
development, which has been duplicated several times on the reservation, reveals
the continuing strength and importance of the extended family.
There is much social as well as economic participation within the modern ex-
tended family neighborhood. The women are frequently seen at work together
or chatting in one home or under a bough-covered shade. The small children who
form a group of brothers, sisters, and cousins play together around a single house.
The men not only share their labor and form economic groups but also meet in
one another's homes to discuss local events, programs proposed by the govern-
ment, or problems of the community.
The cohesion among the members of each community has been maintained in
part through the ties and mutual obligations of blood and marriage relationships.
Social events,* such as a Rabbit Dance or a party for a departing soldier, bring
together the individuals of the total community to share in the feasting and to
68 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
give presents in honor of the person being feted. Funerals also are occasions when
all relatives come together, reuniting especially the community group. At Kyle
each large community has its church and church community house for social
affairs. There is an Episcopal church in American Horse and in Little Wound,
and Thunder Bull has a Catholic chapel. Each church has a community house
for social affairs. The government also built a neighborhood house in the Thunder
Bull community during its recent rehabilitation program. The round dance hall
built in the early days at the Little Wound camp site still serves as a community
center for Indian dances. Most of the reservation communities also use the day
school for community meetings and entertainments. All these institutions and
religious and social gatherings function to preserve the unity of the community.
On the other hand, several factors, such as the geographic separation of families
and the development of new extended family groups, have led to the disintegra-
tion of original band grouping. The individual and the individual family can, if
they desire, support themselves on a farm or by wage work without the assistance
of others and can find companionship and social life outside the community. In-
dividuals are now frequently leaving the group to live and work elsewhere. Such
separation of the individual from his or her relationship group rarely took place
in the old days, except by moving away with one's entire family or joining an-
other band by marriage.
The band integration has also been weakened by the decline of Indian leader-
ship and the passing of the functions of government to the Agency. The newly
formed Tribal Council, which exercises some measure of local self-government,
has not restored integration or local control to the community, for representation
is based on the government-formed district. 2 The loosening of Indian social and
political organization and the absence of full recognition by the government of
either the existing native communities or their traditional functions and con-
tinuing potentialities for economic social and political organization and develop-
ment are producing community disintegration. This disintegration and the de-
velopment of individualism are resulting in insecurity for the group and the
individual which are major problems of Dakota adjustments to reservation and
THE MIXED-BLOOD RURAL COMMUNITIES
The preceding description of community development and organization has
been concerned with the Indian community which is typical of the rural areas of
the reservation. There are also two other types on the reservation the mixed-
blood and the village communities which have no roots in the old bands.
In the Kyle area there are two rural communities of predominantly mixed-
blood people in addition to Kyle village itself. One community is descended from
a group of Spanish and Mexican men who came to the reservation as traders
RESERVATION COMMUNITIES 69
from New Mexico, later marrying Sioux women and settling among the Indians.
Their wives and their children received allotments along Three-Mile, or Spanish,
Creek, and their descendants have remained there. The Indian pattern of extended
family group co-operation is strong among them. There is exchange of labor in
managing cattle, building homes, tanning food, or breaking horses, visiting and
working together at one another's homes, and taking care of one another when
sick. The children move easily from one home to another for a meal or to spend
On the other hand, many things about this community distinguish it from full-
blood communities like Thunder Bull and American Horse. Some of the homes
are made of logs, but they usually have more rooms than the average full-blood's
cabin. There are more tables, chairs, beds, clocks, and decorations, which show a
home life and interest in property that is closer to the rural white pattern than to
the Indian. In the operation of their cattle and horse herds and their farms, these
mixed-blood families are highly individualistic. They exchange labor, but they
wish to operate on their own land, to buy and sell individually, and not to form
associations. In this, too, they follow the pattern of the rural white people of the
region. The community has a Catholic chapel which is attended mainly by the
local mixed-blood people. They organize their own Sunday afternoon rodeos and
baseball games and have their own little orchestra of fiddle, guitar, and con-
certina for community dances. The parent generation grew up speaking Siouan
and Spanish and learned English in school. The children speak English, which
is now the language of the community, and know little Siouan and less Spanish.
It is characteristic of the children in this community to finish high school and
take some vocational or college training. These people have married whites and
other mixed-bloods, especially members of the second mixed-blood community
This community along the White River in the Badlands area near Kyle is
descended from English, French, and Spanish traders, trappers, and pioneers who
came on the reservation when it was first established; nearly all its members are
now related through intermarriage. They raise cattle and horses and farm small
gardens and live much like the poorer white ranchers on the reservation. Several
of these mixed-blood families have frame and rammed-earth houses which are
superior to any homes found in the full-blood communities.
These ranchers and their fathers before them have carried on independent cattle
businesses. In the years before World War I they had big herds of cattle. When
they sold their herds, they had large sums of cash for a short time. Some also sold
their lands; others leased and then entered dry farming. In the financial crash
of 1922 several of these families became bankrupt and lost most of the land which
they had held in fee simple. Some were forced to leave the community; others
70 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
were able to carry on with a small amount of farming and, later, wage work.
Since about 1937 they have built up their herds and are advancing toward eco-
In 1942 the Army took over a strip of land along the northern border of the
reservation that included the allotments of this mixed-blood community. Some
of the families moved into Kyle village and others into the Three-Mile Creek
community; still others leased land in the full-blood communities. The families
in the rural areas have built new homes and moved their stock onto the new lands.
In a few years they should be re-established as independent ranchers.
Kyle village is composed of several Indian families, a few resident whites who
farm and run stores, and a group of government employees. The Indian residents
have homes in the other communities but have moved into the village to work for
the traders or the government. This Indian population is always in flux. During
the years of relief work and the construction of the day school at Kyle, there were
many more families, but most of them have returned to their homes to raise
cattle and plant gardens or have left the reservation for war work. There is no
integration of the Indian residents of the village because they do not share a
common blood relationship, which is the basis of close social interaction among
the Dakota. Each family of the village carries on its most intimate relationships
with relatives in the outlying communities. If a family has no such relatives, it
remains somewhat isolated and on only superficial social terms with its neigh-
bors. There are also a few related mixed-blood families living on the outskirts of
the village who farm and run a few dairy cows.
The village is situated at the confluence of three small streams which form
Medicine Root Creek, the main stream in the area. The Indian communities ex-
tending along the small streams therefore also converge on the village, so that it
is a geographical and integrating center. The offices of the Indian Service farm
agent and doctor, the district school, the ration commissary, the post office, a store,
and a small cafe are also located in the village, making it the political, commercial,
and official center for the communities as well. The life of the village revolves
around these several institutions.
The most important single establishment of the village is the trader's store, the
only place in the area where groceries, clothing, and general merchandise can be
purchased. The store serves as the local communication center. Here notices of
community dances, of feasts for visiting soldiers, and of church bingo parties and
government activities are posted. The store is also the post office, where letters are
opened and the contents reported to relatives or other interested listeners. The
place is usually full of Indians, who have come to make a purchase or get the mail
and stay on to gossip with friends. It is also a vantage point to watch the coming
and going of government employees, especially those driving in from the Agency.
72 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Any bits of official news, reports on the war, or gossip about unusual activity of
any individual or family are passed about and later carried into communities.
As many of the Indians, particularly the men, have a great deal of idle time on
their hands, they have ample opportunity to sit around for purely social purposes.
Across the street is a second communication center, a little restaurant which
also sells candy and gasoline. Everything and everybody are discussed: the latest
activities and treatment by officials at the Agency, the complaints and resentment
reported by Indians, and the developments of the war.
A Catholic church in the town serves the local people and those close by in the
rural communities. A priest from the central mission conducts services here on
alternate Sundays. Occasionally a bingo party or cake sale is held in the church
basement by the local Catholic guild. The church also owns a building of
five or six rooms which it rents to older homeless people and locally employed
The school-farm office-clinic-store-church nucleus is one which appears with
all or some of its elements as a center for each district which the government has
organized on the reservation. The village center at Kyle is one of the larger and
more important of these centers because it serves a large district of several rural
THE RESERVATION TOWNS
The town of Pine Ridge as the official center, with a large number of govern-
ment employees and a local population of mixed-blood wage-workers and white
and Indian tradesmen, has a composition and function unique on the reserva-
tion. In addition to its offices and employee quarters, the government maintains
the reservation hospital and the Oglala Community High School, a primary and
secondary school for boarding and local day pupils. The heads of the Protestant
missions on the reservation also live at Pine Ridge. The Catholic church maintains
a parish and parish priest in the town, but the center of its work is at the Holy
Rosary Mission, about five miles north of Pine Ridge, where it maintains a large
twelve-grade boarding school.
The town is situated a few miles north of the Nebraska line in the southwest
quarter of the reservation. A state highway, running north from Rushville, Ne-
braska, to the Black Hills, divides Pine Ridge into two sections. The west half of
town is the official area of the Agency, the school, and the residences of the gov-
ernment employees. The government hospital is also on this side of the highway
on a hill overlooking the town. An American Legion hall and the local county
public school are the only non-federal buildings in the official area.
On the east side of town are the churches and missionaries' home, the local
hotel, the traders* or general country stores, a few cafes, a drug store, a hair-
RESERVATION COMMUNITIES 73
dresser's shop, and two gasoline stations. The local Indian population, many of
whom are employed as irregular laborers and assistants by the Agency, also live
in this part of Pine Ridge. Their small houses, built close together on small assign-
ments of government reserve land, range in style from small stucco cottages, with
flag poles in the yards and pathways lined by whitewashed stones, to tar-papered
shacks and disintegrating log cabins. The appearance of the house is a good index
of the occupant's prosperity and his degree of assimilation into white ways.
A large majority of the local Indians have less than one-half Indian blood. As
a group they prefer wage work to farming. They want homes of their own and
education and training for their children, so that they rnay also get jobs and ad-
vance in the white social scale. These Indian residents are nearly all newcomers
who moved in from the reservation and from the outside during the years of the
depression to obtain relief wage work at the Agency. Since the cessation of this
employment, many have left the town for war-work centers. The remaining
group has become the most assimilated (in terms of behavior, attitudes, and
desire to become like white people) of any group in the reservation proper. They
follow in general the pattern of life of the white people of the lower-income group
of any South Dakota town.
There is very little Indian custom to be observed in the life of Pine Ridge; such
as there is, is followed by the oldest generation. Most of the Pine Ridge residents,
however, are proud of their Indian blood, as may be observed in the satisfaction
they take in the success of Indians in the war and the outside world.
The social life of the town is almost as sharply divided as its official and non-
official areas. The Agency employees, with the exception of local people, are a
group sent in by the government. They are frequently transferred to other parts
of the reservation or to other reservations, so that they, have few roots in Pine
Ridge. They are placed on the reservation to teach the Indians or perform other
functions for the Indians' welfare, and hence they feel somewhat apart. This gap
is widened by their higher incomes and standard of living, for most of the em-
ployees come from a higher economic, educational, and social status than most of
the Indians or resident whites and wish to maintain that status. Thus by both
their official standing and their social status in terms of white society, the govern-
ment officials, whether they wish to be or not, are placed in a superior relationship
to the Indians.
The employees and residents of the town mix socially to some degree in the
community affairs and entertainments which the boarding school sponsors. The
two weekly moving pictures and the bowling matches, which are open to the
public, and the meetings of the women's club and the parent-teacher association
are the most important of these functions. The employees attend the churches
and church social affairs and occasional meetings or dances sponsored by the
74 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
people of the town. There are also some informal social relations between the
schoolteachers and residents of the town. The small group of women teachers
married to local men and living on the east side of the town are an important link
between employees and the local population.
There is also a group of local white people who have many close friends among
the more well-to-do and educated Indians, and marriages take place between
these two groups. These white people have in many ways more influence than
the official group upon the type of modern life which the Indian people are adopt-
ing. The Indians can mix upon more equal terms with them as neighbors, attend
the same churches, and have similar homes and living standards.
There are a few other small towns in the reservation where Indians have
settled. The town of Wanblee is in the center of the northeastern quarter of the
reservation, about a hundred miles from Pine Ridge. Most of the Indians here
belong to the sociological full-blood group. They have their Indian camp or
quarter where many live during the winter, while their children attend the local
Indian school. There are also a few families of white men with wives of a small
degree of Indian blood. During the depression and recent war years, most of the
white population departed. In 1943 the county was forced to close the Wanblee
public high school and send the few remaining children to another town.
Martin, in ceded Bennett County, is a larger town, although it, too, has suffered
from the movement of people to areas with more employment opportunities.
Many mixed-blood people have settled here and in the surrounding country.
People of Indian blood hold positions in the town as clerks in the store, post office,
and bank and as clergymen. The assimilation of the mixed-blood people can be
seen functioning under more natural conditions in Martin than in Pine Ridge be-
cause they can move fairly easily into business and social life, without the limita-
tions of civil service and the social status that accompanies it.
Pine Ridge Reservation is divided into six districts, which were established
in the 1880's for issuing rations to the several groups of Indian bands. All the
Indians of a district were required to go to their district ration station for beef and
other supplies. The district lines followed the watersheds so that all the Indians
within a single system of creek valleys were grouped in a natural geographic
In the development of the agricultural extension program by the Indian Service,
these districts were employed as areas which each farm agent or assistant could
supervise with a fair amount of ease traveling by horse or by car. The districts
have been used by other Agency divisions as areas of service, but areas vary with
the division. The doctor at Kyle, in the Medicine Root District, also serves a
RESERVATION COMMUNITIES 75
second district. The Little Wound Day School at Kyle, one o the two consoli-
dated rural schools on the reservation, receives thildren from all the major com-
munities of the Medicine Root District except Potato Creek, which has its own
The districts have also been made the political divisions of the reservation under
the Pine Ridge Tribal Constitution drawn up under the Indian Reorganization
Act. The districts send representatives to the Tribal Council and have their own
local councils. Although this brings self-government into the district, it has not
been always satisfactory, for the district is artificially created and is not a native
The field agent of the Indian Service Extension Division is the only official
who serves Medicine Root District exclusively. His work is primarily concerned
with the development of agricultural enterprises among the Indians, including
the supervision of the livestock and property acquired through government loans
and the issuing of permits to slaughter or sell animals on which the government
has any lien. In actual function, the farm agent acts as a local field representative
for the Agency, distributing pay-roll and other government checks, investigating
complaints of trespass on land, giving out information on government forms and
procedures, settling family disputes, and making telephone calls and writing
personal or business letters for the Indians. He is the information center in all
matters which the Indians do not comprehend and their personal representative in
relations with the Agency.
This work is shared by the school principal. As supervisor of community wel-
fare and adult education and dispenser of the monthly rations, the principal has
also become an individual to whom the Indians go for much assistance and
The doctor holds a weekly clinic at Kyle. The remainder of his time is devoted
to home calls and clients in the other Medicine Root communities and to the
clinic in the second district which he serves, where he has a resident public health
nurse to assist him.
Little Wound School is the most important institution of the district, for it
brings together all the children and many adults of the neighboring communities
of Kyle. School busses carry the 150-odd children from their homes to school,
where they spend the day and receive a noon meal. The Kyle children are day
pupils through the ninth grade and then go to the boarding school at Pine Ridge
to finish their high-school work. During the nine years in the day school, the
children become acquainted with nearly all of their age mates in the district.
Working together in class and playing together in games and on school teams,
the children make intimate friends with others outside their own neighborhoods
and communities and overcome much of the segregation and clannishness which
MEDICINE ROOT DISTRICT
PINE RIDGE INDIAN
n . Scale Miles
MEDICINE ROOT DISTRICT
RESERVATION COMMUNITIES 77
life in the neighborhood of an extended family group tends to produce. This
influence of the day school becomes very apparent in the cliques that the children
of each district form when they enter boarding school.
The auditorium, gymnasium, and large kitchen and dining-room make the
school a center for the adults of the district as well as the children. The women's
club meets during school hours every Friday to sew and learn improved home
and child care methods and to discuss school and district problems. It also spon-
sors dances, suppers, and other entertainment. The school is the meeting place
of the district council, the exhibit hall for the district agricultural fair, the dance
hall for both Indian and modern dances, and the local motion-picture theater.
These activities in the consolidated school are developing the integration of the
district into a more functional unit. The schools in district centers such as the
villages of Wanblee and Allen are accomplishing a similar result.
1. In a study of Pine Ridge social organization in 1935, forty-one such band -derived communities
were located (Scudder Mekeel, personal correspondence) .
2. See the final section of this chapter.
INDIANS AND WHITES
IT WAS stated in chapter iv that the Dakota on Pine Ridge Reservation have
come to look upon themselves as the Pine Ridge Indians rather than Oglala
or Brule. Their segregation on a single reservation and supervision by an
Indian Service agency, to which they have looked for care and assistance for over
sixty years, have been the major influences in developing the members of the two
subtribes into this new social group. This is but one of many profound changes in
the Dakota society which have resulted from the relationship of Indians to the
government, and hence the relationship needs to be discussed briefly.
INDIANS AND GOVERNMENT
The relationship of the Indians on federal reservations to the United States
government" has neverjbecn satisfactorily defined. For a long time the Indians
have been regarded as wards of the nation. This concept has its constitutional
basis in the power of the President (with the consent of the Senate) to make
treaties, and the power of Congress to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes.
Blauch has succinctly described the wardship status, as it has been defined in
modern times, and the jurisdiction which the government holds over the Indians.
"The Comptroller General has rendered several decisions on the matter [ward-
ship], which in substance hold that a ward Indian is (1) one who lives on a
Federal Indian reservation and maintains tribal relations, or (2) one who has
restricted property (in his own right, not inherited) held in trust under Govern-
mental control and supervision, whether or not he lives on a reservation or main-
tains tribal relations .....
"Guardianship over the Indians was assumed by the Government at a time
when, as a group, they were unquestionably incapable of managing their property
in the face of the white man's civilization and economy. Guardianship relates
primarily to restrictions on property. These restrictions apply only to property
secured to an Indian by Governmental action; they do not apply to property
secured by him through his own efforts. Ordinarily he has complete control of'
his own earnings and of property purchased with such earnings, as well as of
INDIANS AND WHITES 79
property obtained as a beneficiary. The words 'restricted,' 'incompetent,' and 'non-
competent' are used interchangeably to denote the status of the Indian with
respect to his property; they have no bearing on, or relation to, the actual ability
of the individual Indian to order the affairs of his own life." 1
Indians born in this country are citizens of the United States. Citizenship was
granted to some Indians by the General Allotment Act of 1887 and was promised
to th^se who were established as competent by receiving their allotments in fee
simjpif at the end of the twenty-five-year trust period. However, citizenship was
not conferred upon all Indians until 1924.
Since citizenship does not automatically confer the right of suffrage, not all
Indians are eligible to vote. Today, however, in all but three states (Arizona, New
Mexfco, and Idaho) Indians may vote, and the proportion who do so depends up-
on personal or local attitudes. Many of the Pine Ridge Indians are active in
politics. Indians are also entitled to the benefits of federal-state social security
programs, although some states have questioned the validity of expending state
funds for federal wards. Like citizens of other races, Indians are subject to the
Selective Service Act, and many Pine Ridge young men have entered the armed
forces through the draft as well as through enlistment.
The peculiar status of Indians as wards has led to many seeming contradictions
in their relations to both federal and state governments. Indian lands held in trust
are not subject to property taxation, but all other forms of taxation apply to
Indians as well as to whites. Generally speaking, Indians are subject to the criminal
laws of the state off the reservation, but Indians on restricted lands within the
reservation are answerable only to the federal courts or to the Tribal Court. 2
The federal government fulfils its responsibility to Indians largely through the
Office of Indian Affairs and its field service. These duties and responsibilities fall
roughly into two categories: the guardianship of the property of Indians and the
promotion of their social and economic seB-sufficiency7 The present policy is to
qualify Indians f or a$sui5mgTull management of their affairs, eventually without
federal supervision, by building Indian societies based upon still-funtioning tribal
life and integrated aspects of white civilization.
On the reservation this policy is executed through the Agency, under the direc-
tion of the superintendent and the heads of divisions responsible to him. Each
division has its special function in the total program to develop the Indians' land,
cattle, and farm assets, to minister to their personal well-being, or to advance their
education. The Soil and Moisture Conservation Division protects and rebuilds
the land by proper control. The Agricultural Extension Division promotes the
expansion of ownership of cattle through government credit facilities and the
production of food in family gardens; it instructs Indians in livestock and farm
INDIANS AND WHITES 81
management. The Irrigation Division develops dams and water-distribution
systems for sections of the reservation adaptable to irrigated farming. The For-
estry Division manages the timber supply, controlling the cutting of trees in order
that the tribal forests may provide a perpetual supply of lumber and fuel; it also
maintains a forest-fire protection service.
The Health Division operates the hospitals and cares for the sick. It attempts
to help Indians to improve their own health through the work of visiting nurses
and the holding of clinics on tuberculosis, trachoma, and other diseases which
are prevalent among Indians. The Education Division provides school facilities
and promotes a program to prepare young people for the economy and society
envisioned for the reservation. The Welfare Division is represented on the reserva-
tion by a social worker who administers the Indian Service Relief Fund (until
1944 usually distributed as food rations), conducts child and family welfare serv-
ices, co-operates with the state department of social security in its aid to the aged,
the blind, and independent children, and acts locally for the United States Em-
ployment Service. The Law and Order Section of the Welfare Division maintains
a chief of police and his deputies and the reservation jail.
The Indians of the reservation have a large measure of self-government through
their tribal constitution, formed under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
The constitution provides for a tribal council which has as its chief functions the
recommendation and approval of programs and administrative measures for the
reservation, the management of tribal funds and resources in co-operation with
the superintendent and his staff, and the promulgation of laws for the people. The
regulations proposed by the Tribal Council must be approved by the superin-
tendent and the Secretary of the Interior. This council and constitution have given
the people a greater voice in reservation affairs and more participation in admin-
istration than they had previously had.
The Tribal Council appoints the judges of the Tribal Court, all of whom are
Indians. This court has jurisdiction over misdemeanors, divorce, and petty crimes
not involving the ten major offenses tried in federal courts.
WHITE RESIDENTS ON THE RESERVATION
In addition to government employees, there are white men in all parts of Pine
Ridge Reservation. Most of them live on leased or purchased allotments within the
Indian communities. In some parts of the reservation, whites have acquired most
of the land and have formed predominantly white communities. These whites are
stockmen, farmers, and storekeepers, often a combination of all three. Some are
large landholders. White farmers employ a number of Indian families during
harvest season and have a few Indian hired hands the year round.
Many of these white men were early settlers in South Dakota, and a few inter-
82 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
married and lived with Indians before Pine Ridge was established as a separate
reservation. Others are first- and second-generation Europeans, showing much of
the industry and clannishness of the isolated European peasant in America. Their
standards of living and education are those of the lower-class rural folk of South
Dakota. A few have profited from a series of good crops and amassed small
fortunes, but many were bankrupted by the drought and are now being aided by
government agricultural agencies. Their successes and their failures, their homes,
their clothes, their luxuries, and their recreations underlie many of the reasons
why some Indians farm and take up white ways, while others do not. These are
people who make their living from the land as the Indians are encouraged to do.
They are functioning farmers, by whom many Indians prefer to be guided be-
cause they seem more realistic than the salaried officials who preach but do not
Piese white residents are also neighbors and friends of Indian families and are
especially friendly with a^gKMlp^f_mixed-bloo3s of tfielesser degrees of Indian
admixture. Perhaps more than any other single group, these farmers transmit
white customs and exemplify the" habits~and -values- of "white life to the Indian
These whites are the people, too, who are envious and contemptuous of the
Indian because of his free schools, hospitals, rations, and other government aids.
According to them, the Indian with all his "privileges" cannot do so well as the
white man in making a living. "Why should he be freed from taxes and paid for
making a living? Why should he hold all this valuable land he does not use?
Why should the Indian Service try to drive whites off their land to make room
for these lazy men? The QC.C. was the best thing that ever happened to the
Indians. The government should employ all the Indians and leave the land for us
who will use it." These typical remarks show much of their prejudices and deep
conviction of the "inferiority" of the Indian population. However, intermarriage
continues. Family after family of whites becomes identified with the Indian popu-
lation, and the Indians become closer in blood and in manner to the local whites.
WHITE COMMUNITIES OUTSIDE THE RESERVATION
White men near the reservation have also influenced the Pine Ridge Indian.
Parallel to the northern and southern reservation boundaries are a highway and
a railroad line along which are located a series of small towns and market centers
for the surrounding rural areas, These are also shopping centers for the reservation
people who wish to buy from stores with more varied stock than the local traders
The more important of these towns are south of the reservation in Nebraska. In
Gordon is a new sales ring for livestock, which has made this town of considerable
INDIANS AND WHITES 83
importance to the Indians. Rushville, twenty-six miles directly south of the
Agency, is its chief freight station and shopping center. Chadron, just below the
southwest corner of the reservation, is the largest of the three near-by Nebraska
towns. From both Rushville and Chadron, highways run directly north across
Just over the Nebraska line from Pine Ridge town is White Clay, a drab little
village composed largely of stores along either side of the highway. This is the
"Gay White Way" for the reservation employees, since they can buy beer here.
Although sale of liquor to Indians is forbidden by federal law, the Indians get it
through bootleggers. White Clay's beer parlors are its chief attraction, but its
stores and garages offer competition to the few in Pine Ridge and draw the busi-
ness of government employees and Indians alike.
Northwest of the reservation in South Dakota are the towns of the Black Hills.
The little towns have Wild West shows and annual "old timers" celebrations to
which the Indians come to have a holiday or to earn money or win prizes. Rapid
City, a city of about 14,000 population in 1940, is the one truly urban center near
the reservation and as such is highly impressive to the Indians. The city is a
center of year-round Indian employment, and by 1942 over a hundred and fifty
Pine Ridge families were living there. The town's summer fairs and other tourist
attractions draw many Indians for temporary work as performers and craftsmen.
Rapid City has grown fast, owing to war activities. In 1942 at least three hundred
more Indian families went there for employment in military construction.
During the harvest season Pine Ridge families drive their wagons to the towns
just outside the reservation to look for work. If they do not have former employers
to, go to, the men stand on the streets until a farmer in need of help picks them up.
The families camp outside the towns on their week ends or when unemployed.
Job-hunting is not the only reason why Indians visit these towns. Shopping
trips are great occasions. The whole family goes and stays all day. Parents purchase
the food and other things they need on the farm, buy candy and presents for their
children, attend a movie, and visit with friends from distant places whom they
meet on the streets.
The attitudes of the whites of these towns toward Indians are conflicting.
Employers want Indians to harvest corn and potatoes. They are invited to partic-
ipate in the summer fairs and rodeos, to which they add a great deal of color. The
stores enjoy their trade, particularly in the fall, when Indians buy winter supplies
and clothing before returning home from the harvest.
On the other hand, the white people in the towns look down upon the Indians.
Part of this feeling is a reaction to the fear in which the Indians were once held.
It is also due to their present demoralized condition and occasional drunken
brawls. On the occasions when an Inrlian drinking party breaks into a fight or
84 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
wild carousing in the streets, police make immediate arrests, and the usual penalty
is several days of imprisonment and cleaning the streets o the town. Such inci-
dents revive for a time the talk against Indians and the latent prejudice against
them as a group. This attitude is also derived from the fact that the Indians when
working off the reservation are usually associated with transient harvest laborers,
whom the townspeople and employers regard as a lower economic and social
To sum up, attitudes vary generally with the social status of the white man. The
tradespeople, well-to-do farmers, and government employees, 3 who form the
middle class of South Dakota and Nebraska, look upon most Indians as socially
and economically inferior. The Indians who are acceptable to this white group are
those whose education, employment, and social behavior are like their own.
There is, however, another group of whites in the area to whom the Indians,
especially the mixed-bloods, are more acceptable and with whom there is some
intermarriage. This group is largely composed of the poorer farmers and towns-
people, often those who live on the "wrong side of the track." Because of the
greater freedom of social relationships with these white people, the Indians are
adopting their pattern of living and their social attitudes and values. In other
words, the Indians are merging to a greater degree with the lower than with the
middle class of South Dakota whites.
1. Lloyd E, Blauch, Educational Service for Indians (Washington: Government Printing Office,
1939), pp. 9-10.
2. The federal district court has jurisdiction in the following classes of offenses: ten major crimes
(murder, manslaughter, assault with intent to kill, assault with a dangerous weapon, rape, incest,
arson, burglary, larceny, and robbery); offenses which are ordinarily under federal jurisdiction
throughout the United States; offenses committed in violation of special laws enacted for the protection
of Indians and their property; offenses between Indians and non-Indians or between non-Indians on
territory within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States (U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Manual
of Instructions for Special and Deputy Special Officers and Indian Police [Chilocco, Okla., 1943],
3. See the section on Pine Ridge town in the preceding chapter.
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH
DAKOTA religion was based upon a belief in a great supernatural power
which dwelt in the sky, the earth, and the four cardinal points or the four
winds. Since life depended upon this power and from it came all good
and necessary things, the Dakota believed that it must be invoked for the welfare
of the tribe and for individual success in the daily tasks of life. It was also believed
that the people must follow a moral life, express friendship for one another, and
strive to perform their proper functions as men, women, and children. Otherwise
the elements of this power would take revenge by sending sickness and other
misfortunes. Hence a series of rituals was developed to show reverence to the great
power, invoke its strength, and atone for misdeeds.
The ceremonies and beliefs which were elaborated around this central theme
have disappeared, but the basic belief in the need for power remains. It functions
in minor native cults, the work of medicine men, and the Peyote cult, which
embraces the worship of the Christian Deity. It has been conveyed into the ortho-
dox Christianity introduced by missionaries. Hence the contemporary religion
among the Pine Ridge Indians must be looked at in terms of the old.
THE DAKOTA RELIGION
The Teton-Dakota regarded themselves as superior to all other people and were
confident of their ability to vanquish all enemies, but before the supernatural they
presented themselves as weak and humble suppliants for power. To be successful
warriors and hunters, to win women, to be leaders, to have social status and join
the tribal societies and cults, and to achieve the virtues of Dakota life, men had to
have the power that came only from the supernatural. "
To achfeve power, a boy or man had' to seek it by going alone into the plains,
where the supernatural power of the universe might come to him in the form
of some animal or bird to be his guardian spirit. Here the candidate, unarmed
and naked or clad only in a breechcloth and moccasins, humbled himself by
fasting and telling of his poverty and weakness and by enduring self-inflicted
The guardian spirit which appeared in a vision, usually on the fourth day of the
86 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
ordeal, became his protector for life, and its behavior, songs, and message, as inter-
preted by a priest, determined much of the man's later character and social role. If
the vision revealed the spirit hunting animals successfully, the individual tested
his new power by hunting in the same way. If he was successful, men believed in
his visionary experience, and he was thought to have power. Similarly, a vision
interpreted as that of a warrior successful in raiding sent an individual on the
warpath with a few companions who were willing to follow him. These visions
were believed also to predestine the roles of those who were to remain poor,
become trans vestites (individuals who dressed and lived like women), or be
priests or doctors.
The visions and spiritual instructions conformed to a pattern and did not pro-
duce, as might be expected, a great variety and confusion of religious experiences
and subsequent unapproved or strange behavior. 1 Any great deviation from
accepted Dakota custom was averted by certain conditions in the society. It can be
appreciated that on a psychological level an individual would be likely to see in
a self-induced dream the actions and things he had learned to expect from folk
belief and the preliminary instructions given by older men. In other words, the
culture exerted a pressure upon the vision-seeker to conform to sanctioned experi-
On the other hand, the vision might sanction peculiar and highly individualistic
behavior by releasing the expression of unconscious drives or desires. 2 For ex-
ample, in a culture like that of the Dakota, which demanded robust masculine
qualities of its boys, a young man who had an effeminate nature and wished to
follow the pursuits of women would have to suppress all such desires. These
tendencies might appear in the vision or dream, when conscious controls were
relaxed. Ethnological accounts show that young men occasionally did have visions
recognized by the culture as indications of the supernatural sanction of the pursuit
of a woman's career. Similarly women occasionally had dreams which permitted
them to go on the warpath with men. With the exception of these unusual psy-
chological cases, such purely individualistic differences as the vision-seekers re-
ported were only slight deviations from accepted patterns of visions. A man might
learn a new song, a change in costume, or a new dance step, with which he might
organize a religious cult to carry out the instructions given him by his guardian
The Dakota had priests or shamans who gained their power through visions
and visitations of the supernatural and through instruction by elders in songs
and ritual. The priests interpreted omens, foretold future events, and served as
ceremonial mediators between the people and the deities or recognized manifesta-
tions of supernatural power. They instructed the candidates who were to perform
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 87
in the great tribal ceremony, the Sun Dance. They directed the rites of this dance
and made the prayers and offered the ceremonial pipe to the sun; but in the climax
of the dance, when the dancers gazed straight into the sun, the priests stepped
aside, giving the dancers complete control of the ceremony and the right to appeal
directly to the sun.
Wakan Tanka, whom the Dakota invoked for tribal and personal welfare and
assistance, was not a deity or personified Great Spirit, as has been frequently
assumed, but an all-pervasive, mysterious power. 3 It accounted for the appearance
of the buffalo, the storms, exceptional bravery or wisdom in men, and peculiar
and otherwise inexplicable behavior. Wakan Tanka encompassed all the Dakota
deities, of whom the more important were Sun, the chief god; his comrade, Buf-
falo; Sky, the god of power; Earth, the creative god; and Rock, the executive god.
Sky and Earth had the male and female powers. There were also many lesser
gods and spirits: the benevolent and malevolent gods, the associate gods, and the
Although the Dakota had a greater systematization of their deities than did the
other plains tribes, they did not conceive of a clear-cut divine hierarchy or organi-
zation, nor did any one priest appear to be acquainted with all these who have
been reported. 4 This lack of development of a systematized authoritative power
which ordered the universe or demanded obedience seems in keeping with the
religious emphasis of the Plains Indian: to acquire power for himself.
The Dakota had many ceremonies invoking the supernatural power for the
good of the tribe or of individuals. The pattern of the basic ritual and the arrange-
ment of ceremonial objects appears to have been derived from a ceremony which,
according to tradition, was performed by the White Buffalo Maiden, sent to the
earth by the Buffalo Spirits. 5 This occurred, according to native calendrical count,
at the time when the Teton-Dakota reached the high plains.
When the White Buffalo Maiden first appeared, she requested that a tepee be
placed in the center of the camp circle. In it were to be a fire, buffalo chips, a
square of cleared earth on which was marked a white cross (indicating the four
cardinal points in later ceremonies), a pipe rack, a painted buffalo skull, and,
behind all these, the place of honor strewn with sage.
When these preparations were made, she appeared from "where the sun rolls
off the earth" and took the place of honor in the ceremonial ledge. She spoke first
to the people as a group, then to the women, the children, the men, and the
leaders, in turn, telling each their duties and admonishing them to lead exemplary
lives and to show kindness, friendship, and consideration for others. Finally, the
White Buffalo Maiden lit the ceremonial pipe she had brought, and after offering
88 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
it to Sky, Earth, and Four Winds, gave it to the chief at her left. When she went
out of the tepee, she turned into a white buffalo calf.
The ceremonial fire, the buffalo skull, the earth square and sage, the sacred pipe,
and the white buffalo skin became the ritual objects of the major Teton ceremo-
The great religious ceremony to obtain divine blessing and strength for the
people was the annual Sun Dance. This was performed by a number of bands
or an entire subtribe gathering into a single encampment. The ceremony was
actually a series of religious rituals and social affairs with various purposes, which
together presented a pageant of the essential functions and values of Dakota
culture. The climax was the Sun-gazing Dance performed by a few men, from
which the name of the whole ceremony has been taken. The details and sequence
of the rituals have been described fully by Walker. 6 It is necessary in our interest
in the religious background and changes among the Dakota to understand the
meanings of these rituals and the implication of their loss rather than the manner
of their performance. As will be apparent in the following brief discussion, the
loss of the ceremony has meant the loss also of sanctions of behavior and of social
institutions, and the weakening of tribal unity and security, as well as the loss
of strength and confidence from supernatural or divine support.
The Sun Dance took place during two four-day periods in summer when
the earth was fertile. The buffalo were fat, the wild berries ripe, the grass tall and
green. There was much ritual feasting as acknowledgment that the people had
had an abundance of food during the year. In several of the ceremonies the Buffalo
Spirit was honored for food that he had sent and supplicated for continuance of
his favors. Feasting was also an expression of the friendship and solidarity of the
Fertility was ritualized by_a procession of the adults, in which the men sang in
praise of Sky and the male element and the women praised Earth and the female
element. This was followed by a day of sexual license and banter. Effigies of a
man and a buffalo with exaggerated genitals representing two of the lesser deities
were hung from the Sun Dance pole when it was erected, but at the end of the
period of license these effigies were. shot down and the normal regulations on
sexual behavior reirnposed. The whole ritual appears to have been an honoring
of procreation and fecundity which perpetuated the tribe and then the symbolical
driving of evil or licentiousness out of the camp. 7
In the selecting, cutting-down, and erecting of the Sun Dance pole and in the
choosing of its location, there were imitation rites of scouting, raiding, capturing,
and celebrating victory, all of which were sanctions of making war. A similar
performance was enacted in a mock capture of the dance candidates and ear-
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 89
piercing ceremonialists. There were also races which stimulated competition
among men to achieve personal war honors.
It was during the Sun Dance ceremony that the men's societies performed their
rituals and elected new members who had achieved honors during the past year.
Members also took part in rituals of the general ceremony. One of their special
function was to hold feasts and "give-aways," the distribution of property to the
poor and unfortunate in honor of the people. In these society meetings and on
other occasions when men had to prove their right to perform ceremonial func-
tions, they recounted before others their feats in war or the coups which they had
counted to establish their claim to honors and prestige.
Women had societies for honoring adherence to the ideals of Dakota woman-
hood. During the Sun Dance period a feast was held at which faithful wives and
chaste maidens might attend. Every participant was subject to challenge by men
who could disprove her claim to honorable conduct; if they were successful, the
challenged woman's eating utensils were thrown out of the circle of women.
A virgin of exceptional character was selected by the priests to fell the tree
chosen for the Sun Dance pole. This was the greatest single honor which the tribe
bestowed upon a woman. Three other maidens were selected to assist in cutting
the tree. 8
Recognition was also given to the women in other parts of the ceremony.
Virtuous young girls were selected to bathe the wounds of the sun dancers, an act
which was believed to insure these girls the love of some young man. Pregnant
women and little children were thought to acquire special protection by gathering
the small branches and twigs trimmed from the Sun Dance pole. On one evening
all the people were enjoined to observe friendly and jovial relationships in their
tepees, and the men were instructed to treat their wives with full equality and
Children received attention, too, in a ritual known as the Ear-piercing Ceremo-
ny. Parents who wished to honor their child or f ulfil a vow made when he was ill
asked some medicine man or notable warrior to sponsor him and to pierce his
ears. Before the actual ritual the director of the Sun Dance ceremony admonished
the parents to train their children to be good Dakota. Children who had their
ears pierced were regarded as having sacrificed themselves in much the same way
as the dancers. In a sense, they were dedicated by their sponsors to loyalty to their
kin and to the values of the people.
With the exception of the ear-piercing, the last four days of the whole Sun
Dance ceremony were devoted to the performance of the four grades of dances
by which the chosen candidates sought to come into communication with the
power of Sun and of Buffalo Spirit. The camp had to be cleansed by hunting
down evil spirits, and those persons whose behavior in the past or at the ceremony
90 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
might displease the gods were removed. Sun was met at each dawn and evening
and supplicated with the ceremonial pipe for his favors. Dancing was postponed if
his face was clouded.
The dancers undertook various degrees of self-torture according to the grade of
dance they chose. All fasted during the days and nights of the dance and were
given only moist roots or leaves to quench their thirst. The most severe form of
torture occurred on the last day, when the candidates of the fourth dance were
suspended from the dance pole by thongs attached to wooden skewers thrust
through their back and chest muscles. The bravest and most honored dancers
were those who tore their flesh and freed themselves without assistance. Through-
out this torture and the previous dances they gazed directly into the face of the
Sun. This torture or sacrifice of one's body was the characteristic means of winning
the favor of the gods and entering a direct relationship with them. The dancers
sought not only to gain power from Sun a power by which they might become
medicine men but also to fulfil a vow to dance made previously during the year,
when they had called for supernatural aid during a war raid, a child's sickness, or
Although the experience of the Sun-gazing Dance was personal for each candi-
date, it was also an experience of all the spectators or the tribe, who identified
themselves with the participants. They knew that the participants suffered for
the group, so that all might receive the well-being that came directly from the
supreme power that dwelt in Sun.
In this whole Sun Dance ceremony there appears a tremendous social force and
value for the perpetuation of Dakota life as well as the invocation of supernatural
blessing for the tribe and the several participants. The religious value can be
summarized as the attainment by all the people of power and strength from
Wakan Tanka, the great reservoir of supernatural power, and the winning of
divine favor for the continuance of the life of the tribe, especially for the con-
tinuance of its food supply. The social value of the Sun Dance appears to have
been the reaffirmation by each individual of membership in the tribe, the sense of
security gained by camping and participating with the large number of people,
and the re-establishment of solidarity among relatives from other bands.
The ceremony publicly rewarded also the types of social behavior which were
sanctioned by Dakota culture. The rituals sanctioned the economic occupations
and roles of men and women, the training of children to become hunters and
warriors or wives and homemakers, the begetting of children, the men's institu-
tions, and acknowledgment of the gods and seeking their power. But, above all,
the rituals sanctioned the great Dakota virtues of bravery, fortitude, generosity,
and wisdom by calling upon their practice during the ceremony and rewarded
the highest virtues of women industry, hospitality, kindness, and chastity among
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 91
unmarried girls and fidelity and fecundity among wives. In the Sun Dance each
member o the tribe saw in actual function or in ritualized imitation all the
approved conduct and major social institutions and the rewarding of those who
adhered to Dakota life. The Sun Dance was a drama of Dakota culture. In this
highly emotional and intense atmosphere the adults rededicated themselves to the
cultural precepts, and the young people received a vivid education in the meaning
and objectives of the life they were to follow.
THE OLD RELIGION IS PROHIBITED
The Sun Dance was prohibited in 1881 and was under official ban until 1933. 9
It is not difficult to see the effect upon the Dakota of this action and of the pres-
sures by the government and missionaries upon other parts of the old religion.
With it were lost the feeling of having made contact with the supernatural, the
gaining of a sense of power, and the winning of the help of the gods in providing
food and protection to the people. That the Dakota felt helpless and overcome
without supernatural help in meeting their unhappy situation is amply illustrated
by the fervor with which many of them took up the Ghost Dance nine years later,
to invoke divine assistance in overthrowing the whites and bringing back the old
The prohibition of the Sun Dance took away not only much of the security
which religion gave to the people but also the public rewarding and sanctioning
of social life and social institutions. The ending of this reinforcement of the
Dakota custom and the instruction of the young people by observation and partic-
ipation contributed greatly to the weakening of social controls and the crumbling
of Dakota culture.
There is no evidence to show just how long after settlement on the reservation
the young men continued to seek a guardian spirit, but we can safely assume the
custom virtually disappeared among the first generation of reservation-born chil-
dren. The young men had little need of obtaining power for hunting or warfare. 10
The fact that they went to school, which supplanted much of the parental and
community training and gave the boys new interests, rnay also have accounted for
the decline of the vision quest. At the same time as the younger generation were
receiving new training experiences, the men's societies and cults, which reinforced
the vision quest, were losing their function. The shamans were dying off without
passing on their lore or training successors. 11 These changes seems to have been
both causative of, and resultant from, the abandonment of the general practice
of seeking power.
THE DAKOTA TURN TO CHRISTIANITY
It was a great many years, however, before the majority of Pine Ridge Indians
became Christians, in spite of the suppression of most of their native religious
92 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
ceremonies. Their acceptance of Christianity was at first, and continues to be to
some extent today, an acceptance of the deity of their conquerors and a search for
his power, without complete abandonment of the old beliefs. As one early convert
stated: "I found that their [whites'] Wakan Tanka the superior and have
served Wakan Tanka according to the white people's manner and with all my
power. I still have my wasicun [ceremonial pouch or bundle of a shaman], and I
am afraid to offend it because the spirit of an Oglala may go to the spirit land of
the Dakota." 12 The Christian God was identified somewhat with the Dakota
supernatural power through the missionaries' practice of calling God "Wakan
Tanka." The belief in the Wakan Tanka of the past still continues, as the existing
native cults, to be described later, reveal.
The Dakota also accepted Christianity because it was the one part of the white
man's life in which the Indian was accepted as an equal. Christianity taught that
all people were held to be the same before God. It taught that happiness could be
attained in a life after death, a promise which may have given some hope to the
Indians when most of their happiness was being taken away from them. Further-
more, this teaching had some resemblance to the native belief in a "happy hunting
ground" of the Indian dead.
Some other beliefs andjymbols of Christianity could be readily understood by
the Indians from concepts of their own religion. Asceticism, the torture of the
crucifixion for the good of others, giving to others (especially the poor) , and the
high honor accorded virginity were not unconnected Dakota beliefs and cultural
values. The Dakota also interpreted some church practices in their own fashion
to fit with the values of the old religion. For example, putting money into the
collection plate on Sundays is still used as a means of giving honor to another
person and gaining prestige for generosity in the native give-away pattern. An
offering is made with as many small coins as possible, each given separately in
order to increase the appearance of one's generosity. 13
Chi-the. whcde.theJPj3kota were slow to accept Christianity. The missionaries
created resistance by trying to eradicate all the native religion instead of using it
as a frame of reference in whicKTo'Tntroduce Christianity. They attempted to
impose Christian morality by suppressing Indian custom. One objective of their
proselytizing was to "civilize" the Indian; and, to accomplish this, they tried to
drive out indiscriminately Indian ways which had no relation to religion in the
Indian mind. In this effort the missionaries influenced the Bureau of Indian
Affairs to impose regulations against not only the Sun Dance but all ceremonies
and Indian customs, which they believed impeded the progress of the Indians
toward a civilized state. 14
Such action naturally incurred the antagonism of many of the Indians. As a
result, native religious practice was driven into hiding, and what remains of it
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 93
today is kept from the eyes of all but a few friendly whites. Part of this secrecy is
also due to the fact that native religion is often used for curing, and health au-
thorities have strongly preached against these practices in favor of white medicine
and sanitation. The extent of the belief and religious practice in so-called "pagan"
cults is still more extensive than most missionaries and officials are willing to
One of the chief sources of conflict, particularly to the missionaries, was the
unwillingness of the Indians to accept marriage as a religious rite, to abandon
polygamy, and to forgo the right of divorce in accordance with the tenets of the
Catholic and Episcopal churches. Dakota marriages, except those of noted fam-
ilies, involved no religious ritual or sanction. To make confession before the
marriage rite in matters about which the couple felt no wrongdoing, to publish
banns bringing public attention to the couple always a source of embarrassment
to any Dakota and to make the marriage a public ceremony rather than a family
matter transformed the wedding ritual in the two leading churches into an ordeal.
Old people cautioned the young not to be married by a priest, lest they later
be forced to choose between remaining with a mate they might find undesirable
and breaking the law of the church by separating and marrying again.
Although the moral code of Christianity concerning sex relations appears in
harmony generally with that of the Dakota, they have hot accepted fully the
Christian strictness or demand for chastity by both sexes before marriage. The
old society did. not require continence of the young men; and, although virginity
was desired among the young women, it appears to have been enforced prin-
cipally among the daughters of prominent families. No great feeling of
wrongdoing or sin appears to have developed over premarital sex relations or
even pregnancy. Shame and loss of honor followed, and the family might move to
another band to escape criticism. But if the unmarried mother married soon, the
matter was forgotten. Christian standards and attitudes seemed to the Dakota
harsh and overly upright in face of their own practices.
Since the coming of the first missionaries among the Teton-Dakota sixty years
ago, the resistance or indifference to Christianity has passed, and all the Pine Ridge
Indians profess belief in Christianity and nominal membership in some church.
All but a few of the very oldest people have been born on this or some other res-
ervation or in a white community and have attended school where religious
education was conducted by local missionaries and by many of the schoolteachers.
The Indians accept now most of the principles of Christianity, the ritual, and the
sacred calendar and symbols. This has been part of their general acceptance of
white life. The process of religious change has been the'dying-out of the old native
religion before the full acceptance of Christianity as the religion of the people. As
long as there was a body of older people trained and experienced in the native
94 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
rituals and led by the native priests or medicine men, the resistance to Christianity
The acceptance of Christianity by the Dakota cannot be considered a real sub-
stitution of one religion for another. The younger generations learned less of the
old religion and had fewer native religious leaders, while they learned more of
Christianity from childhood. The absence of a real or direct substitution is em-
phasized here because there is now much in the churches and religious life which
has the function of old religious form and ritual but became a part of the Dakota
life only in recent years.
The church has ceremonies for the transition from one stage of life to another,
known in social science as the rites of passage, for some of which the Dakota
culture also had ceremonies. There was no direct substitution of one for the other
but the passing of Dakota rites with one generation and the acceptance of Chris-
tian ceremonies by a second generation.
In the Dakota culture there was no special ceremony at birth. The naming of a
child took place often at the Ear-piercing Ceremony. At puberty boys received no
ceremonial attention, but a few years afterward they were sent on a vision quest.
Some girls, after their first menstruation, received the Buffalo Ceremony, dedi-
cated to the buffalo-god, the patron of womanly virtues. This ceremony was
performed to aid the good influences which surrounded the girl at this time, to
continue their effect upon her, to banish all evil influence, and to inculcate in her
the virtues for which Dakota womanhood was respected, as well as to announce
her physical maturity. The elaborate Buffalo Ceremony was abandoned in the
nineteenth century, but a simple ritual was conducted by many families on the
reservation until recent years.
The marriage ceremony has been described as a social and family affair. Elab-
orate weddings were held only by f amilies of importance to honor their children
and to give away much property. At these ceremonies a priest performed at a
special altar a ritual in which a deity of the Dakota was called upon to bless the
At the death of an individual, his relatives and friends gathered at his tepee to
mourn. The women spent four days in intermittent wailing. Parents often gashed
themselves or severed a finger to express their grief. A bereaved father might
wander from camp, singing a death song, to shoot down the first person whom he
met and then kill himself. A give-away of the family's property to the mourners
was a part of the funeral ceremony, and another give-away ended the year of
mourning. This rite might be elaborated into the Keeping of the Ghost Ceremony,
whereby a lock of hair was kept as a symbol of the deceased for a year; at the end
of this period, beautiful beadwork and other articles made by the mother were
given away, as well as family possessions.
;;)? ;7,j ,.vf. .
96 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
These life-crisis ceremonies, except those connected with death, have now been
abandoned. The Ear-piercing and Buffalo Spirit ceremonies had not been per-
formed among any of the children whose life-histories were gathered for this
study. Mekeel attended a native wedding ceremony in the Oglala community in
1931 at which a shaman performed the religious rites, and dog meat, a traditional
ceremonial food, was eaten to distinguish the ceremony from a Christian wed-
ding, at which chicken is regarded as appropriate. 16 No native wedding cere-
monies were reported in 1942.
The Christian rites are now accepted for the life-crises of the individuals. Bap-
tism is usual for babies born today. Puberty rites as such are nonexistent, but
confirmation or joining the church is made an important celebration among the
young people. Graduation exercises from both the primary and the secondary
school are also now important, though not sacred, ceremonies for Dakota young
people and their families.
Christian marriage is still strongly encouraged by the churches, but the full
ceremony with invited guests and feast or reception afterward is accepted mostly
by the townsfolk or assimilated country people. The majority of Pine Ridge In-
dians prefer a quiet civil marriage.
The pattern of the old funeral ceremonies the wailing, the four-day mourning,
and the give-away after the burial and at the end of a year's mourning is still
practiced, but self-torture has long been abandoned or suppressed. As in the old
days, widows and bereaved mothers and sisters usually cut their hair short as
soon as a death has occurred, and those who do not are severely criticized. The
minister of the local church is asked to conduct services, and the body is buried
with the church ceremony. The give-away and final feast by the relatives of the
deceased follows the burial and often takes place at the church community house
or in the churchyard.
The Dakota formerly placed their dead upon a scaffold. When the govern-
ment and missionaries wished them to inter corpses, they objected strongly, be-
lieving it would interfere with the passage of the spirit to the land of the dead. 17
Burial in a cemetery is now universally practiced. The Dakota celebrate Memorial
Day as a time to refurbish the graveyard, clearing the graves of weeds and wind-
blown debris and decorating them with new bouquets or wreaths of paper
flowers. Such attention to the dead is entirely new, and it is highly significant that
greater attention is paid to the death rites than to any other in the life-cycle.
Missionary work and churches have been established on the reservation for
many years by the Roman Catholic, the Episcopal, and the Presbyterian churches.
The principal Protestant churches and missionary headquarters are in the town
of Pine Ridge. The Episcopal church has a large number of community churches
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 97
and several Indian ministers and lay readers in the reservation districts. The Cath-
olics operate from Holy Rosary Mission north of Pine Ridge town, sending priests
to the community churches on week ends. One priest conducts services in the
Pine Ridge town church and devotes all his services to this parish. The Catholic
church is the only religious group which conducts a school on the reservation, but
the Episcopalians maintain in the state a boarding school for Sioux children.
The Catholics conduct a summer Bible school for children at the mission, pri-
marily for religious instruction and recreation but also as a means of interesting
new students for the winter session of the boarding school. The other churches
have Bible schools at some of their community churches. Both the Catholic and the
Episcopal churches hold large summer conventions or convocations attended by
delegates and a large number of church members. These gatherings are held
annually, but, since they include all the Sioux reservations, Pine Ridge is the
meeting place only once in every seven or eight years. Although, of course, no
Indian ceremonial is a part of these meetings, the summer gathering of friends
and relatives from different parts of the reservation and the camping in tents give
the convocations some of the social function of the old Sun Dance.
The services and organization of the community churches, as observed in the
Kyle area, follow closely the pattern of small rural churches of white communi-
ties. The visiting priest conducts Mass in the two Catholic chapels and administers
the marriage, funeral, and other personal rites of the church. An Indian minister
lives in a parish house beside the Episcopal church in one community and serves
the church in a second community on alternate Sundays. Indian Episcopal lay
readers conduct morning prayer and, in the manner of former Indian elders,
occasionally indulge in unsanctioned sermons, discussing the behavior of church
people, the Peyote cult, or community social situations.
The social organization of the membership of Episcopal and Catholic churches
is similar, but the Episcopalian communities seem to be more active under local
leadership. They have full Sunday services and a weekly evening meeting of
prayer for the men in the armed services. There is also Sunday school and a young
people's fellowship which meets on Saturday afternoons for religious instruction
and group socials. The Sacred Heart Society of the Catholics has a similar league
for young people. Both churches conduct women's guilds for stimulating home
improvement and teaching home crafts. The Episcopal church also had at one
time a men's brotherhood, but its activity seems to have ended with the death of
its lay leader.
Individuals in the rural communities all tend to join one church, especially if
there is any common bond of a band origin. It was noted that, in many families, a
Catholic or a Protestant has joined the church of the other upon marriage. In one
family a Catholic mother became an Episcopalian, but her Episcopalian daughter
98 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
became a Catholic upon her marriage. Children in one family may be divided in
church membership between Catholic and Protestants without conflict. How-
ever, in 1943, in school and community meetings led by a minister, the children
who were not of the same religious following were observed to remain outside.
This stimulation of competition and exclusiveness in church groups, developed
under white leadership among a single and once strongly integrated people, has
been injurious to social cohesion and has brought confusion and criticism among
The evangelical type of church has not made much headway on the reservation.
Occasionally, Seventh-Day Adventist and Church of God preachers come from
Rapid City to seek followers or to establish a new church. In Kyle these visitors
are well accepted, possibly out of curiosity and as sources of entertainment, for the
people enjoy group singing and the emotional participation of these evangelists'
meetings. They make a strong appeal through the prayers for the sick and their
particular emphasis on divine cure. There is much discussion of such experiences
as a cure resulting from a two-day community prayer and the healing of a
woman taken to Rapid City in order that a white congregation might pray for
her life. Consciously or unconsciously, these preachers follow the Indian pattern
in making friends and establishing themselves in the good graces of the com-
munity by making many gifts, but they have established no permanent churches.
These outside sects, especially the Pentacostal, have yet made little appeal to the
full-bloods in spite of their interpretation of the deity as a power who cures the
sick and controls the lives of individuals in a very personal way.
One church of this sort without affiliation to any organized sect is struggling
for membership and recognition in Pine Ridge town. It seems to appeal to the
mixed-blood and more assimilated group, however, as it does to the poorer and
less stable whites, because of the definite security and authority of God which it
offers. As an institution of lower-class membership and outside the long-estab-
lished church group, it is subjected to informal ostracism by the other local
churches and the government employees.
CONTEMPORARY NATIVE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES
Certain religious cults that do not stem from Christianity, at least in forms
recognized by white society, are practiced on the reservation. There are also
surviving some remnants of the practices of medicine men.
The only continuing cult of the old Dakota religion is the Yuwipi meeting,
whose ceremonials and function in the old culture have scarcely been touched
upon in the ethnological literature. 18 This cult worships manifestations of four
chief Dakota gods and invokes supernatural power for curing the sick and occa-
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 99
sionally for finding lost articles. In discussing the beliefs of the Yuwipi cult, an
older member stated that they believed in "the Sun and the Daylight that is
Wakan, our god [the chief god]. Then, we worship Darkness [the creator god] ;
this is why we sit in darkness in the tepee at a Yuwipi ceremony. The women
think of sexual things and later they go home with their men. That is creative;
that is not bad; the Darkness is holy. Then, there is Rock [the executive god]. The
leaders have a little bundle of sticks in their hand when they are tied up and a
blanket is thrown over them. The Rock makes sparks and lightning shoots all
over the tepee. The Rock is hard and steadfast and that is what our faith must be.
It is like the earth. Then, there is Wakinyan or Heyoka [an associate god]. It
flashes through the sky, and storms come, and strong winds, and floods that wash
away the soil. The Yuwipi people say that is cleansing them and cleansing the
earth. Wakan washes away everything and makes everything clean and new."
The objective of the Yuwipi ritual is the calling of the spirits, or "little people,"
who live about the countryside, to advise the medicine man in curing or finding
lost articles. 19 The ceremony is held in a cabin completely darkened while the
medicine man performs magical feats and calls in the spirits. Sounds of knocking
stones, strange noises, and flashing lights appear in all parts of the room as the
spirits respond. The medicine man talks to them, while four men drum and sing.
Suddenly all the sounds stop and the medicine man recounts to the group, before
the lamps are relit, the cures and information learned from the spirits.
Before the ceremony begins, the medicine man is bound very tightly by others
and placed under a blanket. Those who have requested his services place offerings
around the altar or platform where the medicine man is bound. When the lights
go on, he is standing, free from his bindings, and the offerings have disappeared.
In Kyle, only one Yuwipi practitioner was reported during the period of this
study. Because he feared that his supernatural power might bring some ill effects
upon his family, he did not remain with them much of the time. His wife and
daughters were good Catholics. The father traveled much to conduct ceremonies
in other communities. The renown of his psychic power had spread over the
countryside, attracting both Indians and whites, who had come to him for
various reasons, from seeking a cure for appendicitis to finding a stolen horse.
Despite the fact that the practices of medicine men were long banned by Indian
Service regulations and condemned by missionaries along with other native
customs believed to impede the "civilization" of the Indian, some of the prac-
tices have survived, and medicine men and herbalists still prescribe for the sick.
The work of these minor religious practitioners is mainly on an individual or
family basis. The extent of their practice, like that of midwives, is hard to deter-
mine, because both performers and recipients are afraid of white censure.
100 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
THE PEYOTE CULT
The Native American church, or Peyote cult, has members in many of the
reservation communities. This excellent example o an institution produced in
acculturation developed in the United States years ago on the southern plains
from an old Mexican religion which centered around the use of the mildly intoxi-
cating peyote plant. 20 Native and Christian beliefs and rituals are combined into a
religion closely related to Sioux religious attitudes. The cult is based on invocation
of power from a supreme being the Peyote Spirit, who appears to be identified
with the Christian deity symbolized by the peyote button or seed pod of the cac-
tus plant. The eating of peyote induces a trance, an experience not unlike that
induced in the old vision quests, in which the seeker of a guardian spirit attempted
to get outside himself or into an abnormal state. 21 The eating of peyote and
participation in the ceremony are believed to bring one in direct relation with
the supernatural, but they are not believed to provide any personal power like
that formerly obtained from a guardian spirit.
The ritual of the Peyote cult is conducted with members sitting in a circle in a
large tepee erected for the ceremony. A fire burns before a small crescent-shaped
altar. Tobacco is ritually smoked as a means of communicating prayers. A special
drum is passed to each member to accompany his peyote songs. As in the Sun
Dance, the sacred number is four.
This cult, like the old Dakota religion, delves into the realm of curing, one of
its chief drawbacks from the point of view of outsiders and practitioners of
modern medicine. The eating or drinking of peyote in a broth as a universal
cure-all keeps many people in need of modern medicine or surgery away from the
hospital. This is particularly serious for sick children, who have no choice in the
matter; Indian Service doctors have stated to the writer that it is extremely difficult
to treat pneumonia cases where the child has been previously fed peyote. It may
also make employment of anesthetics before surgical operations dangerous.
The Peyote cult has been criticized for this practice, but the chief point of attack
has been on the use of peyote itself^ because of the state of lethargy and inactivity
which constant use is said to induce. The Christian churches look upon the cult as
a heretic and even pagan organization which they wish the government to aid in
stamping out. Indian nonmembers of the cult on Pine Ridge Reservation gen-
erally regard it as a menace that causes laziness and depletes families* wealth.
Many habitual users of peyote do become irresponsible and unable to care for
themselves and their families. Members of the cult, as hosts to a number of cere-
monies, purchase the peyote and the food that is eaten afterward, thereby dem-
onstrating their hospitality and generosity. Because this giving is made to and
approved by only a small group, the social prestige gained by a peyote host is
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 101
slight, but such expenditure is often economically detrimental to his family as
well as to himself.
The physical effects of peyote still remain a disputed point. Peyote of itself has
probably worked little injury, but the behavior associated with the religion, stem-
ming from cultural and psychological causes, can be harmful. The Pine Ridge
people who partake of peyote appear to be individuals psychologically disposed to
find some way of escape from their social environment. The cult appeals to those
who, seeking to preserve the Indian way of life, find in the ceremonies the sym-
bols and behavior which permit them, for a night at least, to return to the old
life and escape the white man and all the pains of cultural change. The cult is
also an escape from the poverty and depressing effects of reservation life. In this
connection an interesting comment was made by a former peyote user, who said,
"You feel very pleasant. You can sit and watch the government employees drive
by, and it doesn't bother you at all."
The Peyote cult carries also influence for good, whether looked at from the
Indian or white point of view. It teaches a strict sexual morality and abstinence
from liquor. As an incorporated church, it places regulations upon marriage and
divorce practices, bringing new strength to the lax social controls outside the
church groups. The cult has been criticized for permitting sexual license during
or after ceremonies. This is not a part of the belief of the cult nor practiced by its
serious followers, as far as information on hand can tell us. It is possible that
young men attend the meetings to seduce women who become pleasantly relaxed
and lose some control of their emotions, but this cannot be blamed upon the
religion. This is a point of which only long investigation can reveal the truth or
In Kyle the Peyote cult has only a small regular following, but at times it in-
creases when a member becomes active in organizing meetings and provides the
necessary peyote, which is purchased outside the state. During 1942 Peyote cere-
monies were held in Kyle to cure the sick and to honor a returned soldier. In the
latter case, the Dakota utilized the Peyote meeting for the completely Dakota
social purpose of honoring.
In Pine Ridge town the Peyote cult was not reported as functioning. This may
be due partly to the influence of the several churches and partly to the lack of
appeal of Indian ritual and the escapist satisfactions of the Peyote cult to the
assimilated townsfolk. Just outside Pine Ridge the cult is practiced by a group of
rather incompetent and frustrated full-bloods.
The Peyote cult does not seem to be reaching many of the younger generation.
In the first place, the ceremonies last all night, and the younger children are not
taken. In Kyle the older children in our study who came from families reputed to
102 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
be members of the cult expressed a strong condemnation for the practice. In the
group outside Pine Ridge under the leadership of a former Catholic catechist, a
special children's group has been organized after the pattern of the established
churches. The leaders of the Peyote cult have also talked of giving instruction
to the younger members in school during a religious period, but as yet they have
taken no action.
CHANGING ATTITUDES TOWARD RELIGION
Belonging to a Christian church and attending Peyote or Yuwipi ceremonies
bring no conflict to the Indian mind. Individuals pass from one group to another
as the personalities of the leaders appeal to them or neighbors report unusual
success in curing. The old sanctions of freedom of individual behavior within a
certain prescribed area and the old informality of Dakota organization still allow
individuals a great deal of choice in their religion.
* The shifting from one religion to another of apparently conflicting concepts
becomes more understandable when it is realized that there are certain elements
fundamental in the native pre-Christian religion which are carried over into the
contemporary religions. The first is the continuous seeking of divine power for
strength and assistance in meeting the problems of earthly life. An adjunct is the
specific use of this power for curing. The second is the seeking of social interaction
and social participation which gives to the individual a sense of security and
membership in a larger group not attained regularly in other institutions. The
third is the sanctioning of a moral code.
The Yuwipi cult appears to be organized primarily for the purpose of curing.
But the power of the old deities comes to the assembled group to give them
strength, cleanse them of evil, and continue their fecundity.
The Peyote cult is also a curing religion. Its regular meetings, however, are not
held expressly for the sick but to gain power or strength from the Christian God
through native or imported Indian ritual devices. The Peyote cult sanctions the
Dakota mode of social relationships but emphasizes also aspects of puritanical
morality taken from white culture.
Without detracting from the work of early and contemporary Pine Ridge mis-
sionaries, it can be said in all fairness that much of the significance which Chris-
tianity holds has come from its interpretation by the Dakota in terms of their
former religion. Similarly, the church organizations have become significant as
they have supplied a center around which band organization and integration
could continue. The first generations of converts transkted Christianity into the
Dakota way of life. Owing to conflicts between the Christian and Dakota moral
code and the condemnation of all Dakota custom because it was related to pagan-
POWER, CEREMONY, AND CHURCH 103
ism and uncivilized life, Christianity gained little authority at first over Dakota
morality and social life. In the general process of assimiliation, it is the younger
generations which have accepted CEnstiamty '*&- sanctioning force of white
moral behavior. -- - - - .
The so-called "pagan" cults today also offer a security which the usual Christian
critic does not understand. Each oldest generation in the full-blood group seems
to be the last which will carry on the native or seminative religious practice, but,
as each generation grows older, it seems to accept and practice more of the old
rituals and beliefs. On the whole, however, each succeeding generation has a little
less interest, a little less acceptance, and a little less knowledge of the beliefs and
rites that stem from the past. Under the pressure of the churches, the increasing
knowledge of modern medicine, the fear of white criticism, and the general
process of assimilation, the old religious practices seem bound for extinction.
The Peyote cult has a certain strength because it is fighting for survival. As an
escapist cult and lacking prestige among the other churches, it may die eventually.
But because it answers many of the psychological and religious needs of the
people, it probably will continue as long as the basic Dakota religious values and
traditional forms of spiritual experience are maintained.
Most of the Dakota ceremonies and the pantheon are gone, except for the
vestige remaining in the Yuwipi cult and the practices of a few medicine men.
Although it is doubtful that more than a small minority of the people today make
a practice of attending Yuwipi meetings, this native cult will probably continue
for a long time, for there is always an element of any population which believes in
and enjoys magic. The hold which the past Indian life has on most of the people
adds it effect also to the preservation of native religion. Even so, Yuwipi practices
will doubtless decrease in influence as contacts with the world outside the reserva-
tion grow stronger.
The Christian churches, too, appear to be losing some of their former hold as
the Dakota travel and associate more intimately and easily with white people.
This is due in part to the fact that many Indians are now following the trend of
the local white population away from control by the church.
1. See Robert H. Lowie, Primitive Religion (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1924), chap. xi.
3. Royal B. Hassrick, "Teton-Dakota Religion" (MS).
4. J. R. Walker, The Sun Dance and Other Ceremonies of the Oglala Division of the Teton Dakota
(New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1917), p. 56.
5. This ceremony is described fully in Frances Densmore, Teton Sioux Music (U.S. Bureau of
American Ethnology Bull. 61 [Washington, 1918]), pp. 63-66.
6. Op. cit., pp. 60-120.
104 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
7. Dcnsmore learned from informants in 191 1 that the effigies symbolized the enemy and the buffalo
which had been captured by supernatural help. She reports none of the sexual symbols or ritual (op.
"/., p. 118).
8. Ibid., p. 113.
9. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Regulations Effective April 1, 1904 (Washington, 1904),
sec. 584, and "Circular Letter 2970" (Washington, 1934).
10. It is interesting and significant to note that young Dakota purchased personal medicine bundles
for power and protection before going into the armed forces in 1942 and 1943.
11. Medicine men have not, however, passed from the contemporary scene (see below).
12. Walker, op. /., p. 159.
13. Scudder Mekeei, personal correspondence.
14. U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Regulations , 1884 and Regulations 1904.
15. Scudder Mekeei, "A Modern American Community in the Light of Its Past" (MS).
16. Scudder Mekeei, personal correspondence.
17. Clark Wisslef 4 North American Indians of the Plains (New York: American Museum of
Natural History, 1934), p. 96.
18. Densmore (pp. cit., pp. 204-18) describes the elements of the Yuwipi ritual (shooting stones,
binding the practitioner) in the practices of the old medicine men.
19. The "little people" were reported by Lewis and Clark in the nineteenth century. No ethno-
logical accounts known to the author describe them or the whole Yuwipi practice.
20. For a full discussion of peyotism see Omer C. Stewart, Washo-Northern Paiute Peyotism
(Berkeley and Los Angeles, Calif.: University of California Press, 1944).
21. Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1935), p. 81.
K gO C<0 gO gO gO gO
CHAPTER V III
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS
^^^^^-S^^%fr^S^->)) ) ) gO gfrMEMeMgMKfr gO gO gfrSg
IN REVIEWING the historical experiences of the Pine Ridge Dakota and the
changes in their physical environment, basic economy, social organization,
and religious beliefs, little reference has been made to the particular genera-
tion living at the time these changes occurred. Three generations have been born
on the reservation since the Oglala and Brule first came to Pine Ridge, and each
has grown up in a different atmosphere. Only the oldest people living today have
experienced directly the whole effect of the reservation era. The cumulative effect
of reservation life, social disorganization, and assimilation has been transmitted
in part by the older generations to the younger ones, but each generation has been
oriented by the particular times of their childhood and early youth. As Mekeel
was the first to demonstrate, people born in different eras of Pine Ridge history
hold widely differing attitudes. 1 It is necessary to elaborate on these differences
in attitudes in order to understand the kind of adjustments which the people are
making and particularly to understand the orientation of the youngest generation,
our especial interest.
The great majority of the oldest living generation were born on Pine Ridge or
some other reservation. A few people who are nearing or have passed eighty the
great-grandparents of the present children lived as children in the old camps and
traveled freely over the plains. The boys hunted a few buffalo with their fathers,
but they were not old enough to participate in the last of the Indian wars. A few
of the grandparent generation hunted buffalo also, but for most of them the
earliest memories are associated with the camp circles at the Agency or ration
stations. There are also several survivors of the massacre at Wounded Knee and
men and women who remember clearly the event and the feelings it aroused.
The key to the attitudes of the contemporary grandparent generation is the fact
that they were trained by parents and grandparents who had participated in buf-
falo hunts and war parties and the great camp circles of the Sun Dance. These
parents and grandparents experienced defeat, or at least subjugation, at the hands
106 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
of the whites; but they could not appreciate that the Dakota way of life was
doomed. Hence, the first adults on the reservation instilled in their children the
belief that the customs, values, and glories of Dakota life were the best, and the
best for all young Dakota. It is not surprising to find that today these young
people, now become the grandparents and the old men and women of the reserva-
tion, still cling to Dakota tradition and custom.
The grandparents in their youth dispersed with their own parents from the
band camps to settle on family farms, but they kept up the social integration of
the band group and continued to conform to the Dakota mode of social behavior.
These older people knew the last of the chiefs and the exercise of native authority
and controls. They had some of the old childhood rites, such as the Ear-piercing
and Buffalo ceremonies, performed over them. They married by the old customs
and appear to have remained more frequently with one mate throughout life
than have their sons and daughters. They respected the old sanctions and believe
in many of them today. Even though they changed in their economic life, when
the old economy had been swept from under them, they preserved many of the
social aspects of the old culture through the momentum which had been started
in their childhood training. They experienced receiving all their food from gov-
ernment rations for many years, but they were also able to give up rations and live
almost completely by their own efforts in raising cattle.
The grandparents of today accepted Christianity as young people or have come
to accept it in their old age. Probably only a few saw the last Sun Dance as chil-
dren, but many attended the curing rites of the medicine men. Many were taught
the beliefs of the old religion by their parents, and some were trained as medicine
men and women, though not as priests for tribal ceremonies. With this religious
background and the strong religious and moral education which many of them
received at school, those who became Christians did so with more spiritual fervor
than most of the Christian Indians of the younger Dakota generations.
The important training in moral code, however, came from the old virtues
of Dakota life. As children they were taught to be brave, to fight against odds if
need be, and not to run away without honor. Honor could be had by outwitting
and by stealth as well as by dashing openly into combat. The inculcation of
bravery in facing even the unknown is well described by Luther Standing Bear,
who as a boy went off to school at Carlisle expecting that he would have to fight
the white men and die far from his own people but that in doing so he would
honor his father and himself as he had been taught. 2
Fortitude, the second great virtue of the Dakota, was closely related to bravery.
It was not only courage in battle but the enduring courage which enabled them
to accept long hardships and to suffer pain and the self-inflicted tortures of their
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 107
ceremonials. This quality of fortitude has sustained the people through much of
the adversity and years of poverty on the reservation.
The third virtue, gSflgrosity, was one of the bases of behavior among one's own
kindred. The "give-away," a dramatic ceremony of distributing all of one's own
belongings, was a means of honoring others and gaining social prestige. By
making gifts in the name of a child or deceased member of the family, a relative
showed his love or his grief. He was also acclaimed and respected by his people,
and especially by the recipients of the gifts, according to the amounts he gave and
to the degree to which he impoverished himself. Such a system functioned with-
out permanently ruining the givers, for everyone gave and in turn received 'gifts
at subsequent ceremonies. One might also ask for articles of clothing or equip-
ment from persons to whom gifts had been made.
The oldest generation retains the feeling of the necessity of making gifts to
express the affection and ties they feel for others, and they have criticized those
who have followed the white man's way of not giving. Generosity has continued
to be an important virtue among the Dakota in spite of .their poverty in the last
twenty-five years and the great pressure of the government and missionaries to
abandon the extremes of the give-away custom.
The fourth virtue of Dakota life is sometimes termed "^[isdojn" and sometimes
"moral integrity." 3 Both were certainly ideals of manly behavior. Old men were
expected to be wise and composed, and those who spoke well and showed good
insight and judgment were elected to the councils. In the family the grandfathers
were respected for their wisdom and were expected to pass it on to their grandsons.
The present grandparents have tried to exercise this role; but, because their
values come from the old culture and they do not understand many pointsT of
white behavior, they have not won the great respect accorded the old people in the
Moral integrity based on the Dakota code has not been clearly defined. Cer-
tainly honesty and keeping one's word among one's people were qualities highly
respected. A thief in his own group was highly disapproved and punished; in
fact, reports of persons stealing from their own groups are rare. In a small camp
where generosity was so prevalent, property had little personal value, and a man's
own belongings were so well known by everyone that theft was unlikely to be-
come common practice. However, stealing from the enemy was a virtue by which
a warrior gained prestige.
These four virtues have always been described as those of the men. The same
standards applied to women but in a slightly different way. In accepting hardship
and suffering pain, even to the point of suppressing all outcries in childbirth, the
women learned to show fortitude as well as the men. The ideals of womanly be-
108 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
havior are epitomized in the speech of the White Buffalo Maiden to the women
in the ceremony described in chapter vii.
"Wakan Tanka intends that you shall bear much sorrow comfort others in
time of sorrow. By your hands the family moves. You have been given the
knowledge of making clothing and of feeding the family. Wakan Tanka is with
you in your sorrows and joins you in your griefs. He has given you the gift of
kindness toward every living creature on earth. You he has chosen to have a
feeling for the dead who are gone. He knows that you remember them longer
than do the men. He knows that you love your children dearly." 4
The sexual morality upheld by the churches coincides with the Dakota ideals
of sexual behavior for women and has therefore been easily and willingly accepted
by the older women. They also carry their former participation in religious
ceremonies into regular church attendance.
THE ACQUIRING OF WHITE VALUES
The oldest generation, trained as they were by the last members of the func-
tioning Dakota culture, have maintained most of the attitudes which this culture
inculcated, but the influence of early training and contact with whites was also
profound. Some of the grandparents of today attended Carlisle Institute, the all-
Indian school established in 1879 in Pennsylvania, and lived with white families
during summer vacations in an "outing" system set up to teach them white
farming and household practices. The majority, however, had very little educa-
tion, usually not beyond the sixth grade. They were introduced to white ways of
making a living by government employees who were sent onto the reservation to
instruct them in blacksmithing, carpentry, and stock-raising.
The cowboy who roamed wid*4he^j^atjgat^ of Dakota
and Nebraska was oneof the chief new culture-bearers. Of all the whites the
Indians knew, the cowboy, who was theireqiial as a horseman and marksman,
who lived in the out-of-doors, who moved independently and without fear of the
Indian, made the greatest appeal. Into this type of life much in the activity of
Dakota men could be transmitted. The cowboy made the cattle economy seem
attractive, and this generation of Indians soon adopted it avidly. They prospered
with their herds and made an excellent transition to the life of the white plains-
This experience is important in the redevelopment of the cattle industry at the
present time, for it is the old people who encourage their sons to take up cattle-
raising and especially encourage their grandsons to build up cattle herds while
in school. In some communities the grandfathers, who know the advantages o
raising cattle, have Urged their grandsons to keep cattle given them or earned at
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 109
school, in opposition to fathers, who advised their boys to sell and spend the
THE EFFECT OF ECONOMIC INSECURITY
The grandparents were able and willing to accept a new economy by which
they were regaining security and a sense o self-reliance. They were approaching
a satisfactory degree of acculturation when the cattle and land sales from 1916 to
"1922 undermined most of the life they had built. The subsequent poverty and
sickness and the return to complete economic dependency upon the government
brought to them a sense of futility in following the white man's economy or ac-
cepting the white man's advice. To the so-called "New Deal" program of self-
government and Indian management of economic enterprise, the old people are
typically reactionary. Many of this generation, with some younger leaders opposed
to the government, have organized a political group called the "Old Dealers."
"The hostility of the old people is not to changes from Indian to white life but to
any change (especially threatened or anticipated changes) from the type of reser-
1 vation life with allotments and direct government supervision, in which they had
found some security. Even the revival of Indian handicrafts and art and the
removal of restrictions upon Indian customs and religious ceremonies have not
been received entirely as recognition of Indian culture or restoration of rights
and liberties. Many of the old people have so thoroughly accepted the attitudes of
teachers and missionaries of thirty and forty years ago that they feel a return to
Indian custom is backsliding.
This attitude does not appear consistent with previous statements that the old
people dream of a return to the old life. Individuals and groups of all races are
never consistently logical or entirely rational, and the Dakota are no exception.
Faced with specific acts or circumstances, the older Dakota appreciate the reality
and the implications of the situation. But in their total situation in which they
have experienced two almost overwhelming defeats, they have sought a psy-
chological release in a very unrealistic dream of a life in which all the old freedoms
and pleasures are regained and all the suffering and burdens are cast off along
with the restrictions imposed by whites.
CONFLICT OF WHITE AND DAKOTA STANDARDS
The attitudes of the next generation differ to a considerable degree from those
of their elders because the younger men had less training for Dakota life in child-
hood and as adults have not experienced the cowboy life or satisfactions of the
This generation went to school, usually to boarding schools. But since they
usually started when they were ten or twelve, they had time to go through only
some of the elementary grades. They learned the white man's work and house-
110 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
keeping; but, as it was far removed from the actual needs or conditions of their
homes and was usually based on necessary maintenance of the school plants, it
proved to be inadequate training for making a living on the reservation. The
schools forbade the use of Indian language and enforced strict discipline. When
students returned to their homes, where control was not exerted by strict dis-
cipline, they often became behavior problems to their parents. The older present-
day parents recall the former military rule and regulations somewhat unpleas-
antly, but many believe such school discipline desirable for children "to make
The outlook on life of the second generation has been greatly conditioned by
the years of cattle and land sales and land-leasing, when their families were
comparatively wealthy, and the subsequent years of poverty and hardship. The
greater security of their childhood and the luxuries enjoyed just when they were
starting out in life or had families of small children were lost, and for this they
are now likely to blame the government, whose lack o foresight was one of the
prime reasons for their plight. This antagonism toward the government has not
decreased in the years since 1922 when they began returning to dependency upon
government aid for their livelihood.
The loss of the cattle economy and the cowboy life for which the men of this
generation were trained as children is closely related to an important need to
have a role and function which gives the men importance in their own eyes and
in the eyes of their people and of the whites. Hence, the opportunity to make a
living, to have property, and to be independent of "charity" or government sup-
port attracts some of them now to become cattle operators.
Many Indians, however, have become discouraged over the possibilities of a
satisfactory and permanent life derived from the land. The cumulative experience
of the sale of the herds in the past, the continual loss of land resources by reduction
on the reservation, the sales of allotments, the many failures of Indians who were
encouraged to borrow money and enter dry farming during the 1920's, and the
* drought and successive failures of crops and cattle herds during the 1930*s have
created much doubt as to the wisdom of attempting to live by the land resources
Another attitude which is slowing the acceptance of a cattle economy is the
inclination toward wage work. This type of work brings an immediate return
and solves the present problem of living, whereas entering the stock business
requires waiting for at least two or three years before receiving any adequate
returns. For people who are as impoverished as most of the Pine Ridge Indians,
the opportunity of obtaining an immediate income is very influential in their
decision about how to make a living. Widespread experience in wage work began
with farm labor in the twenties, was increased by relief work in the thirties, and
112 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
is now continuing in war and farm work at highly increased wage rates. The
present employment is reinforcing the conviction that wage work is a highly
satisfactory way of earning a livelihood.
One of the chief problems that have arisen over the development of the cattle
economy is the attitude which the second generation in particular holds toward
the. land. In spite of the fact that land "was hot regarded as private property in
the pre-reservation era, it has become property of intrinsic value to modern
Dakota since the sale and rental of allotments began. The income from leasing
or selling allotments gave them a new value in the eyes of the Indians. Here was
a means of obtaining cash without effort. However, the real worth of the land
was not realized: the desire to commute it to cash was uppermost. When the
landless began to discover that they had no way of raising more money or any
means of growing food, the value of their land struck home. Those who retained
their knd for rental also became aware of its value as other sources of revenue
failed or disappeared.
Land is not conceived of as a source of food-orjncome but as potential cash; the
real value of the land to the Indian lies in its possible sale. This was demonstrated
after the recent sale of allotments in the bombing area, when the cash became
available at the Agency. The government made it mandatory that those who had
sold their lands establish a budget for investment in new land in order that they
might improve their earning capacity on the reservation. But all of them de-
manded cash, and not 10 per cent of the Indians wanted to invest money in new
land. Most of the people therefore requested livestock and equipment in the hope
that they could turn these into cash at a later date. One Indian with a record of
good management voiced the prevailing attitude when he said he wanted cash
some to give his wife, some to buy things for his children, some for clothes, and
the rest for travel and a little good time. Here again is the old premium on dis-
posing of wealth. Behind this also lies the belief that land held in trust is some-
thing really belonging outright to the Indian to do with as he pleases. This same
Indian, who would spend all his money from land sales, also proposed to ask the
government for a loan to rehabilitate himself on rented land. Such apparent im-
practicality stems from attitudes derived from past experiences and the wardship
It must be remembered that the able-bodied men who can become the stockmen
of the reservation today have had little experience in managing cattle and buying
and selling on the market. Twenty or thirty years ago they were only boys whose
fathers ran the cattle herds. They gained some experience with cattle in working
with their fathers, but when they were old enough to take over the full operations,
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 113
the cattle were gone. There is, then, for many of the men the problem of entering
a business in which they are very inadequately trained.
Lack of confidence in the ability of other Indians deters many from leasing
land to them or co-operating in group economic ventures. In every community
there are some Indians who have been in the cattle business for several years and
prefer to continue on an independent basis. Some of these are the sons of white
men who trained them to keep away from other Indians and work individually
like the white farmer. Others have been established on an independent basis by
government assistance under programs which attempted to help the able-bodied
and willing families in the community. These Indian farmers are frequently
uninterested in pooling their land in a co-operative range and joining a cattle
association of inexperienced men who are just commencing business.
Conflict has developed between individualistic and competitive ranching and
the co-operative associations which the government is now promoting. Co-opera-
tive operations appeal strongly to the full-blood people. The Dakota man was
individualistic only in making his tools and weapons and in the choice of time
and nature of his daily work in support of his family. Most of his hunting, his
warfare, his travel, and his camp were organized in co-operation with others. To
act together and share together were highly important values. These are still
important values which many of the people express in modern economic enter-
The individualism and competition of the white man have, however, been
learned, and they hav~ffiade inroads into the attitudes of many Indians, espe-
cially mixed-bloods. Those who are unwilling to co-operate in co-operative enter-
prises or wish ttTwithdraw from them often impair the efficiency of these enter-
prises by withholding necessary lands and creating jealousies and bad feeling
because of their adherence to non-Indian traits.
The conflict between the developing individualism of the white man and the
co-operation and sharing of -the Indian also crops up in the difference in attitudes
toward the accumulation or sharing of wealth. The second generation, especially
the mixed-blood members, have diverged greatly from the Indian customs sur-
The Indian who amasses a large herd of cattle, builds a good home, and re-
ceives an income of a thousand dollars or more but does not distribute his wealth
on ceremonial occasions, such as a wedding or funeral in his family, becomes
the subject of severe criticism and ostracism by his relatives and friends. This is
just what happened to many mixed-bloods who followed the white pattern of
accumulating property and thus lost favor and status with the majority of the
people in their communities.
Pressure to abandon the practice of the give-away has had some effect, and the
114 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
recent poverty of the people has diminished the amounts given. The result of
these influences was observed at a recent ceremony. A widow gave stacks of hay
to her husband's relatives and said privately that she would give away all her
household furnishings. Her stepfather advised her that this would be foolish, for
she would need them later. The next day the widow gave away great lengths of
calico purchased at the store but kept her house intact. This was not entirely out-
side former Sioux practice, when the husband's relatives would request a woman
to keep some things for herself, 5 but such encouragement from her own relatives
was formerly looked upon as selfish. Now, reinforced by Indian Service and
white opinion, the Indians are becoming more cautious in the giving-away of
The give-away as one expression of the Sioux ideal of generosity and strong
social cohesion is not such a detrimental factor today as its less formal aspect, the
custom of hospitality. To receive and feed all visitors, especially relatives, is still
an obligation. It is this custom which undermines economic development of in-
dividual families and keeps them poor. When there were greater food resources
to be obtained by the skill of the hunter and everyone was close to the same
level of wealth, hospitality did not tax the individual family too heavily. In-
dividuals who remained too long to continue to receive hospitality at the home of a
well-to-do family usually repaid their obligations by assisting the family.
This is not now the case. Relatives come for a meal, or for a few days while the
food resources last, and then/aepart. If a man is a farmer with a good garden or
his wife has a large store o^canned vegetables and there is a steer in the pasture
which might be butchered, relatives will come often and stay long. This cannot
be a two-way affair, as in /he past, for only the few are comparatively well off and
the majority are impoverished. Moreover, a good farmer cannot leave his cattle
and crops to travel about obtaining reciprocity for his previous generosity. Thus
hospitality has become a burden to the few and a strong deterrent to accumulating
material wealth. /
The conflict oFthe old hospitality with modern economic machinery is also
shown in the situation, so unfair according to white standards, in which idle
young people vifeit over long periods of time with their grandparents who are on
old age assistance rolls. The young people expect to be supported indefinitely on
meager assistance checks without reciprocating, as they would have been obligated
to do in the old society.
The man with a regular salary today becomes a target for his poorer and ne'er-
do-well relatives. "He has enough. Why should he not feed us? He is my rela-
tive," is the prevailing attitude. In the rural communities regularly employed
men are few, usually employees of the trader or of the government school and
farm station. They live in the community center where people are constantly
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 115
coming for provisions and mail. What could be more natural than for relatives
to stop by for dinner or supper or both? In one community, the practice drove the
school bus-drivers to petition that they be transferred elsewhere and that no local
men be employed, in order that they might not be impoverished by their relatives.
The rarity of the man or woman with a regular cash income in the rural areas
makes his position almost untenable. Thus the wage-worker solves his problem
by going to work at the Agency, where nearly all the men are wage-workers, or
by leaving the reservation altogether. This possibility of moving helps to make
wage work more popular than farming in one's own neighborhood.
The attitude toward money, moreover, makes the position of the wage-worker
socially more conrfortaHe't&aSlthat of a farmer who is doing fairly well. In
Indian terms, money is not strictly property and the attitudes toward property do
not fully apply to it. Hence it is not subject to complete requisition in the form of
hospitality. To be sure, an individual will ask for a small loan or gift of money;
but, although he may encourage it, he will not expect another to spend all his
money on him or give it away ceremonially. Only when money is transposed into
food or objects which can be eaten or received as gifts does it become property
Tyhich its owner is expected to share. Therefore the wage-worker is in a safer
position than the prosperous farmer. The wage-worker may hide his money and
appear poor, or leave it in the hands of the government, whence it is thought to
be difficult to draw out. Better than this is the possibility of spending the money
quickly on himself. Saving exposes one to visits from poor relatives and is against
good Sioux behavior. Spending therefore is approved, and if a man spends money
on a car, a radio, good meals for his family in a restaurant, and expensive Stetson
hats, cowboy boots, and silk shawls, he has behaved in an approved manner and
avoided much possible criticism. Nevertheless, the owner of personal luxuries is
still subject to the expectation of gifts and loans.
It is obvious from the conflicting attitudes just described that the Pine Ridge
people are under the influence of two cultures but are not living completely in
either. The existence of conflicting standards of behavior makes it inevitable that
,alffi6st any action of the individual is out of line with the standards of some
members of his community. Normally a society attempts to bring conformity to
its standards by the imposition of sanctions against the nonconforrner. The
Dakota, in seeking to impose the sanctions of the old society upon nonconformity
to approved ways, have often intensified, rather than reduced, the deviation. The
imposing of sanctions has also failed because the Dakota do not have the right
to impose some of the old controls and have lost to the government the imposition
1 1 6 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
As noted in chapter iv, the Dakota had a law-enforcing agency in the afycita,
or camp police, whose authority was absolute. Early travelers among the Sioux
have noted the whippings inflicted on the unruly. Murderers might be clubbed
or shot on the spot. The family of the wronged person might also seek vengeance
on the offender or a member of his family.
The most potent forms of social control, however, were criticism, ridicule, and
ostracism. Public ceremonies in which men claimed war honors or women were
honored for their virtue included the right to ridicule false claimants. Childhood
training implanted a fear of shame which made criticism and ridicule very
potent deterrents to any deviations from the accepted code.
Both the physical punishment by the a^icita and the control by ridicule in cere-
mony have gone with the old encampments, but criticism, ridicule, and ostracism
are still important methods of keeping the individual in line. People gossip about
the nonconformer, sing satirical songs about him at the Rabbit Dance, or ignore
him in public.
The story of the Indian who purchased a new wagon and, in the manner of
white farmers, covered it with tarpaulin for protection from sun and wind is a
typical example of this type of control. This man left his carefully covered wagon
beside his house in the center of the village. His neighbors on their way to and
from the store called out, "Hi there, who do you think you are a wosicu [white
man] covering up your wagon?" The jeering at white custom and the white
man's sense of the value of property drove the proud owner to take off the tar-
paulin at the end of three days and leave his wagon to dry and crack in the hot
At present, such controls are used largely to enforce co-operation, the basis of
Dakota interaction. The main area where attempts are made to enforce co-
operation is in the use of property; conflicts in this area have already been de-
scribed. The second area is co-operation in work and in family relations, both of
which are changing rapidly. Controls are also exerted in the field of sex relations,
but less frequently than in other areas because standards are more in conflict.
The varying economic policies of the government have had the effect at one
time of dispersing the old extended family groups and at another of bringing
them together. Allotments broke up the old band camps and dispersed family
homes over a much wider area. When families sold their allotments in the boom
of the twenties, they were forced to move from their homes. The usual procedure
was to settle with parents or other relatives who did not want to dispose of their
land or who could not establish competency. The extended family groups were
thus re-established as in the old tiyospoye camps. However, there was little work
to be done, little opportunity for the men to work together as they had in man-
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 117
aging their cattle herds, and few means of support. Many families left for the
summer to work in the potato fields but returned in the winter to share and live
With the development of C.C.C. work projects, the younger families and un-
married men went to live in the work camps and to move with them as projects
were undertaken in different parts of the reservation. Since then many of these
families have left the reservation to live near the war-industry centers. 6
This dispersion of families over and outside the reservation has weakened the
co-operation of the extended family and community groups. Frequently the
stay-at-homes, the older people and women and children, have been asked to look
after the horses or a few cattle of the absentees. Such co-operation is willingly
given, but very often there is no return of assistance by the people who have gone
away. This is due to changing attitudes. Those who have gone away expect those
at home to co-operate by caring for property left behind, according to Indian
custom; but, like white men, they have come to regard money earned on the job
as belonging exclusively to themselves and their immediate families. Those left
behind are at a disadvantage under both customs.
The older generation, trained more intensely in the Dakota tradition of co-
operation, feel the desire to give and receive it more than do the younger people.
When young people who have left home return, frequently without money, they
become subject to the criticism of relatives and neighbors.
The younger people often feel resentful and sometimes confused. Frequently
they are trying to live by two social codes: one which seems to be keeping them
poor and another which is allowing them to gratify many of their personal desires.
Because they are not linked with relatives and responsibilities when they live
away from the reservation, they have much freedom. This lack of immediate
responsibility creates attitudes that would bring difficulties even in white so-
ciety, were these individuals to remain there permanently.
This situation is by no means universal on Pine Ridge, but it is frequent
enough to cause much family disorganization. The breakdown of the family
results in serious difficulties for the individual and particularly for children.
Another realm of social control closely related to family co-operation and or-
ganization is sex behavior and the attitudes between men and women. Like
family relations, sex relations and attitudes are changing, and social dislocation is
produced by partial adherence to Dakota customs.
In the former society unmarried men were placed under little control in their
advances toward women and given no punishment if they succeeded in having
sex relations. The controls were placed rather upon the women, through strict
chaperonage of all unmarried girls and young women. There can be no doubt
118 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
that this involved a concept of wrongdoing in extramarital sex relations, but im-
morality and evil were not emphasized as in white society. Premarital sex rela-
tions did occur; but, i known by others, they were forgotten as soon as the girl
With the isolation of homes on the reservation and the increasing amount of
travel alone by young people, girls can no longer be under the constant chap-
eronage of older female relatives. When the girls go away to school, they learn the
white standards of freer association with boys. The acceptance outside the school
of white standards of free association has made the complete protection and con-
trol of girls and women impossible. Furthermore, the sex standards of the whites
with whom most Indians associate easily outside the school are not those taught
by the school and the missionaries. It is not surprising, therefore, that control of
extramarital sex relations has broken down and that the attitudes toward them
are much freer than those sanctioned either by the former Dakota society or by
the middle class in white society.
Parents try to use the old control of criticism, since chaperonage has become
impossible, but criticism seems to have lost its former weight with the young
people. Parents therefore frequently turn to white controls and ask school prin-
cipals or police to bring back runaway daughters or to punish young men who
have seduced them.
The breakdown in family control and the failure of the child-training system
are not the only causes for increasing sexual delinquency. From time immemorial
this has been a symptom of and sequel to general social disorganization. On the
reservation the sex delinquency is to be found among the most disorganized gen-
eration the parents as often as among the young people. Hence it is probable
that the illicit sexual behavior of parents and the amount of gossip about it in the
community cause as much delinquency among the younger people as lack of
The general attitude of Dakota men toward women also calls for comment.
Dakota culture was definitely oriented toward the life and pursuits of the men,
and the women's life was almost completely supplementary _tQ. .the men's activi-
ties. The position to which most of the men have now been reduced by economic
and political changes has not given them prestige by which they can maintain
their, pre-eminent role. The men have felt, therefore, some resentment, some
guilt, and much dissatisfaction, and they often become critical of and antagonistic
toward women. On the other hand, the position of women in the family and in
the community has risen, and their function in the family is often more impor-
tant today than that of the men. They have become critical of men's behavior and
have held it up to ridicule. These changes in roles and status have led to hostile
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 119
attitudes and relationships on the part of both men and women, and even to the
breakup of many families. Women have left their husbands for men who can
give them better homes with more to eat. Resentful husbands have left home to
live with more congenial women or to work and keep their earnings to them-
In the old days a runaway wife's nose was cut off. If a husband deserted his
family, he was subject to severe criticism and the pressures of both his and his
wife's families to return. At present little heed is paid to family criticism. Many
wives dislike to ask the Tribal Court or the Agency social worker to enforce
support or mete out punishment, and so social disintegration goes unchecked.
The primary cause appears to lie in the economic conditions, but increased in-
comes alone will not remedy the situation. It seems unlikely that social disorgani-
zation can be overcome unless its effects upon families, especially the children,
are fully realized by the people and until the communities can take greater
responsibility for imposing controls upon their own members.
The right of appointed police to impose physical punishment or of families
to exact justice independently of the general society passed with the nomadic
life. But the substitutes the powers of the Agency police and punishment by
fines and imprisonment have not accomplished the same control. The people
still fear the police, by tradition or through the experience of being taken to
school, but the chief reaction to the penalties imposed by the Tribal Court has
been annoyance at inconvenience. Going to jail now causes less embarrassment
than resentment. Indians resent this type of punishment because, even though
the judges are Indians, the court is regarded as an institution imposed by whites.
Arrest and punishment, therefore, bring little sense of shame. Friends and rela-
tives will help an offender to avoid arrest and commonly will not act as witnesses
or tell the full facts of the case. Family co-operation and loyalty are strong in
these situations, relatives being both unwilling to betray and afraid to expose
themselves to criticism and retaliation. Such refusal to testify has often been
. the case even when relatives are the injured parties.
On the other hand, people do resort to the Tribal Court and police where other
means of control are ineffective. Frequently they ask police or court to make a
man pay damages or support his children. Most people prefer, however, to arrive
at an amicable settlement in these cases with the aid of a local government official.
The Tribal Court and the adoption of a tribal law code have reduced some of
the antagonism toward the white system of law and order, but new problems
have also arisen. Indian judges and p6lice are subject to all the pressure of Indian
society. Relatives expect them to side with family groups, and nonrelatives accuse
them of prejudice and special favors. The personal lives of judges are well known,
and any infringement of the moral code or the law in the past is brought up as a
120 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
means of criticism. Jealousy and resentment are usually aroused when Indians
are elevated above the social level of the group. It is to be remembered that
formerly people attempted to pull down those who rose by unapproved means.
ATTITUDE TOWARD WHITES
Not only the attempts to impose law and order but many other relationships to
the government have been unsettling to the Dakota. The Pine Ridge Indians
have been dependents since 1868, when the primitive tribe needed to be fed and
protected and guided in its adjustment to civilized society. The government by
treaty gives each eighteen-year-old boy or girl farming equipment or household
property. The Agency controls the leasing of individually alloted lands; it handles
all inheritances; it controls and distributes at its discretion all moneys except
wages that come from the government to the Indian; it advises the Indian in a
paternalistic manner in many intimate details of his daily life. 7 There has re-
sulted a parent-child, superior-inferior relationship between the government and
the individual Indian that extends from the cradle to the grave. Even as late as
1943, the Agency wished to maintain this relationship over many families who
had proved their competency to manage their affairs by earning and repaying
government loans of money and cattle. The responsibility of many of the Dakota
and their ability to succeed in white life have long since been proved, but often
they are still treated as more or less irresponsible children. There is no way in
which the competent Indian can become a completely independent citizen on the
reservation, subject only to the laws and regulations under which his white
neighbor lives. The Indian does, in fact, receive some special privileges, but these
are little compensation to his feeling of legal inequality and social inferiority.
The fact that the Agency also is the source of food, work, schools, and hos-
pitalsalmost every opportunity and service which white men usually earn or
provide through taxing themselves is a source of frustration. One who must
always receive and never return is put in a position of obligation that makes him
feel overpowered. To people who were so meticulous as the Dakota about re-
paying gifts, the position of ward is especially galling. This relationship to the
government has gone on so long that the Indians now cling to it for security and
yet resent it because it does not permit them to be fully responsible citizens. The
government has thus become the victim of its own methods for "civilizing" the
Indian; it is now responsible for wards who resent wardship, on the one hand,
and yet, on the other, are not fully willing to assume greater responsibility for
The relationship of Indians to the general society of whites both on the reserva-
tion and in outside communities has been one of friction, hostility, and insecurity.
FATHERS AND GRANDFATHERS 121
It must be remembered that it was the policy of the government, until 1933, for
the Indians to merge with the white population. Although forced assimilation is
no longer the policy, the white man's educational system, family and social life,
religion, and especially his economic system are held up to the Indian as the most
desirable forms of living. The white man's type of life has been made the Indian's
goal in the past, and toward this goal his society and culture have been moving.
Thus when in individual contacts the Indian finds himself ostracized or ex-
ploited by white men, he feels threatened and baffled. When he accepts the advice
and encouragement of the white man, he often meets with rebuffs from other
white men which show him that, as as Indian, he is considered either outside
white society or else included only in its lowest stratum. He therefore sees him-
self as permanently inferior and marginal to the society which exhorts him and
often forces him to emulate its ways.
EFFECTS OF CONFLICT
The modern social structure, with its poverty, lack of adequate roles and cul-
tural objectives, and social conflicts arising out of lost controls and changing
attitudes, is strongly conducive to insecurity for the group and for the individual.
As each Dakota man or woman now looks back to the past either from experience
or through the stories which have been told him, he senses the self-assurance and
the ability of his ancestors to cope with life. They were united and secure in the
life they followed, and their institutions gave good reinforcement within the
group. By comparison, the modern Indian way of life is one of emptiness, one in
which family and community are losing their integration. The contemporary
life, as compared with the culture that was functioning in the middle nineteenth
century, is only a shadow. Attitudes and values of that culture still strongly affect
the behavior patterns of the people, but some of its social institutions are gone or
are only vestigial. The realization of cultural loss and being neither Indian nor
white in any cultural sense adds to the Indian's insecurity and isolation -in the
This insecurity of the adults, which is now so apparent from the material point
of view in their meager incomes and from the psychological point of view in their
inconsistent behavior and conflicting attitudes, creates an atmosphere which can-
not help having repercussions upon the children as they grow up. The young
children can only sense the confusion and the uncertainty of their parents with-
out understanding the causes, and so they themselves feel insecure. This inse-
curity in the environment is one of the most significant aspects to keep in mind
as we turn now to the children's training and social adjustments.
122 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
1. Scudder Mekeel, The Economy of a Modern Teton Dakota Community (New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, 1936), p. 5,
2. My People ike Sioux (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1928), p. 124.
3. Sioux informants are not in agreement concerning the four chief virtues. J. R. Walker (The Sun
Dance and Other Ceremonies of the Oglala Division of the Teton Dakota [New York: American
Museum of Natural History, 1917], p. 79) reports them as bravery, fortitude, generosity, and fidelity.
However, in his translation of a text by an Indian named Tyon, they are listed as bravery, generosity,
truthfulness, and begetting children (p. 60).
4. Frances Densrnore, Teton Sioux Music (U.S. Bureau of American Ethnology Bull. 61 [Wash-
ington, 191 8]), p. 65.
5. See Jeannette Mirsky, "The Dakota," in Co-operation and Competition among Primitive Peoples,
ed. Margaret Mead (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1937), p. 388.
6. This trend is some\vhat offset by the fact that many war workers and soldiers have left their
families on the reservation with the grandparents or other relatives.
7. One modern translation of the Sioux term for the white man is indeed revealing tvasicu, "he
8. See Erik Homburger Erikson, "Observations on Sioux Education," Jottrnal of Psychology, VII
PART II. GROWING UP ON THE RESERVATION
ASTOTED in chapter iv, Dakota concepts of training the child were, and
are, in many ways different from those of white society. While many of
the objectives of the two systems are similar, the method and timing of
training for these objectives differ. Traditionally, the Dakota infant's training
in cleanliness, careful handling of possessions, and other forms of behavior
that a child has to learn begins later than in white society, and it is not enforced
by the strong controls, such as spanking, so common in white child-training.
Nor is the Dakota child fed, bathed, and put to sleep by the clock. Today white
methods are used increasingly by the more assimilated Indian families, but the
stronger discipline characteristic of the training of white children comes chiefly
from the schools on the reservation.
The health of the Dakota baby on the reservation today reflects clearly the
teaching of Indian Service doctors and nurses, and delivery in the hospital has
greatly lowered mortality in childbirth. White concepts of infant care are also
followed by some Dakota mothers, and it is indisputable that modern pediatric
practices have saved the lives of many infants. Yet, combined with the care of
the baby's health learned from white doctors and nurses are training methods
based on Dakota concepts.
White ways of child care affect the Dakota child today even before birth. The
prenatal clinics, the visits of field nurses to the homes before the birth, and
hospital delivery provide the child a better start in life than was likely for the
child born in the Indian home before such services were available. Most mothers
are now going to the hospital to receive adequate attention and avoid the un-
sanitary conditions at home.
Some women, however, prefer to have their children in the home because
they are afraid of the white man's medicine. Having a child inside the house is
in itself a change from the former, and probably more sanitary, practice of being
delivered in a clean sand pit outside the tepee, where there was no contact with
124 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
an unclean bed and the afterbirth was buried. There appears to be little prepara-
tion today for many of the births that occur in the homes. Assistance to the
mother varies. Women told interviewers in this study that they had their
children unattended or, if they had difficulty, called their husbands to assist
them. It is the usual practice, however, to have the mother or the mother's sister
attend; contrary to the former custom, mothers-in-law also assist. Mid wives and
medicine men are occasionally called in, but they are becoming afraid to prac-
tice as openly as in the old days. If there are accidents, women are quick to con-
demn the midwife and blame the mother for not securing the services of a
modern physician. The only old practices and beliefs connected with births
reported in our field study were the occasional burning of the afterbirth and the
belief by some mothers that bleeding of the umbilical cord causes the child to
EARLY CARE AND DEVELOPMENT
Babies are now put in diapers and dresses. When the baby is laid to sleep or
carried out of the house, it is wrapped in a square baby blanket, pinned into a
tight bundle like the old skin cradle. Erikson comments on the possible frustra-
tions imposed on the child by both the old tight wrapping with its stiff but
boardless back and the present tightly pinned blanket/ but there is some ques-
tion as to whether the baby is actually frustrated by such confinement. For the
newborn child, the warm wrapping is perhaps comfortable and satisfying.
Modern babies are quite frequently unwrapped, often left to play on the bed,
or laid in a hammock made of a blanket pinned through two loops of rope hung
from the ceiling of the room. Two mothers stated to interviewers in this study
that their children did not like being wrapped when carried; hence they always
left the arms free. It was noticed that mothers holding their wrapped babies
almost constantly rocked them lightly on their knee or passed the child to an-
other woman or girl who rocked the child as long as she kept it.
Most mothers on the reservation today nurse their babies. Where the mother's
milk is insufficient or unsuitable for the Baby, Indian Service nurses and doctors
advise the substitution of canned milk. The scheduled feeding practiced by
white mothers is advocated by reservation nurses and doctors, but this advice is
infrequently followed, so strong is the Dakota belief that a child should be fed
whenever he frets. Resistance to scheduled feeding is also due to the fact that
Indian families do not regulate their daily life by the clock.
Reservation doctors and nurses recommend weaning between the ninth and
twelfth months, and some women now abruptly wean their babies at this time.
But most mothers extend the weaning process over a period of many months,
gradually introducing solid foods. The time of weaning reported to interviewers
in this study ranged from nine to thirty-six months, with the majority falling in
the period of eleven to eighteen months. In the cases of prolonged nursing, as
Erikson puts it, the child weans the mother. 2
Early weaning is probably not so satisfactory as the doctors and nurses an-
ticipate, for the weaned baby is usually given much of the meat and starchy
foods served to the rest of the family. Milk is not always available. Furthermore,
the special foods given to white babies after weaning (even orange juice) are
hard to obtain in the rural communities and may be beyond the means of the
poorer families when they are available. One nurse, after three years of clinic
work, questions the value of the white feeding and weaning practices on the
reservation because many children weaned early are completely deprived of
milk, and essential elements provided by the former native foods are no longer
Our observations indicate little attempt by Sioux babies to get oral gratifica-
tion by sucking their fingers. This may be due to the prolonged nursing, granted
at every request, and the gradual weaning still in practice. Only one child, aged
four, was observed with a rubber pacifier, and only two were reported as being
given objects to suck on one a piece of pork and the other a wiener! Erikson
believes that the common Dakota habit of snapping the thumbnail against the
front teeth is connected with the nursing practices. 3 Both children and adults
also constantly pick their teeth with sticks and put all the fingers into the mouth.
Frequent playing with the lips is definitely absent. Erikson suggests that these
habits are derived from frustrations and discipline that occur when the child
bites while nursing at the mother's~breast. On the other hand, it seems only
logical to assume that many children might learn to suppress the biting of the
breast if deprived of food and teethe on a toy or some other object with full
satisfaction. From our observations (and also those of Erikson), the teeth-clicking
habit occurs predominantly among women and girls. If both boys and girls are
subject to the same frustration, the boys appear to find some other release. It is
suggested that this is found in the greater aggressive behavior permitted the t
boys. The possibility that this habit is a form of eroticism has also been ad-
vanced. 4 m
Full-blood parents place no great importance on the time when a child learns
to walk or to talk. In the interviews the mother could usually recall the approxi-
mate month in which talking and walking occurred, but she never indicated
that she had felt anxiety that a child did not learn soon enough or any special
pride that the child showed precocity. The parents assume that children will
learn to walk at some time between the ninth and fifteenth month, and they
patiently wait for the time with little use of persuasion.
The time of learning to talk also varies greatly; usually talking is begun three
, to four months after learning .to walk. Parents exert no pressure to hasten the
126 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
child's performance at an early age or to change those who are temporarily
satisfied with one word for all objects. The development of the child is watched
with amusement and patience. None of the full-blood parents or adults use baby
talk, and they usually teach their children Siouan. Many of these children do not
speak English readily when they enter school, although they may have a small
English vocabulary picked up from older brothers and sisters.
About the time when the child can understand and communicate with his
mother, toilet training commences. Formerly training consisted mainly of
putting the little child outside the tepee, but now parents have greater concern
about this side of the child's discipline. A few parents continue to put the child
outside the door or hold him over a piece of paper on the floor. The majority use
an old syrup can, or, if they can afford it, a baby's chamber pot purchased at the
trader's. When the children can walk, mothers leave their diapers or underpants
off, so that the child can go to the toilet as he pleases. The prevalence of this
custom is difficult to estimate because underpants are usually slipped on when
visitors, especially whites, are seen approaching the house.
Very few mothers recounted any difficulty in training their children in adequate
toilet behavior. They placed the child on the pot after each meal and in a few days
the child learned to warn his mother. Much of this training is aided by the ex-
ample of older brother and sisters who are also using the pot. If there is any
great significance in the modern Dakota toilet training, it is that a change has
been made from the former mild and gradual methods to pressures hastening
sphincter control and excretion in special places. This training, however, is usually
neither so intensive nor associated with such strong punishments as is the training
usually imposed on white children. Dakota methods are also without the over-
emphasized concepts of filth concerning bodily functions and the taboos asso-
ciated with a private place and locked doors. The possible significance of the
children's drawings of the outhouse may be questioned. However, in many of
these drawings outhouse doers are shown open. This is an observation of a
characteristic situation, and it may reflect the children's lack of feeling that such
a place should be closed and the interior hidden from view. Another note of un-
concern about toilet facilities was observed in households where the children
used the toilet chair as an ordinary seat in the house.
As noted in chapter viii, one of the cardinal virtues of the old Dakota society,
which is still strong today, was generosity. Gifts of property were made to honor
the recipient and the giver alike.
Modern Dakota children are carefully trained in this tradition. Many children
are given farm animals when they are only two or three years old, and giving a
horse to a child is the traditional way for an uncle or older brother to honor him.
Quite aside from the pleasure which any gift brings a young child, receiving an
animal has distinct training values on the reservation in developing the interest
of the child in rural life. Little boys soon learn to recognize their own animals
and are anxious to ride or care for them as soon as possible. Girls' animals are
cared for by their older brothers or fathers; even so, the personal interest in
watching a pony grow and in learning to ride him have distinct training values.
These gifts also have an economic value, for any issue from them is scrupulously
regarded as the child's own and is taken over by him as he grows up. If it is sold,
the money is used to buy something the child wants or is kept for him. This is
the ideal and indeed the common practice, but under the pressure of poverty
and with the changing attitudes toward property, many exceptions may be noted.
Parents are known to have slaughtered or sold the children's animals.
The gifts to children serve to inculcate in them a reciprocal generosity as a
means of gaining approval. Children of five, six, and seven give freely and pleas-
antly to their younger brothers and sisters. Small children learn the more formal
type of giving by observing their elders. At one funeral where there was much
giving, a small boy of the bereaved family spent his only dime to buy artificial
orange powder in order to give a bucket of orangeade ceremonially to the visiting
Among the Sioux property does not have the high value associated with it in
white society. This carries over into Dakota child-training in ways that are as-
tonishing to white observers. Parents usually put valuable or breakable articles
which they wish to preserve out of reach of the young child, and he therefore
picks up and handles anything he wishes. However, when valuables are large or
not so easily safeguarded, the attitude of indulgence persists. White people will
sit outside an Indian home in bewilderment and utter frustration watching
children tear a headlight off a car or drag good harness over the ground in play,
while the parents sit by undisturbed. To the whites it seems preposterous that
people who are so poor should allow children to damage useful objects that have
been earned with great difficulty. This is a part of the lack of concern over prop-
erty that underlies the Dakota virtue of generosity; it is also a way of teaching
children not to set a high value on property.
The methods of teaching small children proper behavior are based on encour-
aging the child to de wrxat is desired by kindness and patience and by example
rather thanjiy.,ajpng. series of "don'ts." To white people Indian child-training
appears to consist more of "spoiling" than disciplining, but Indian parents have
several means of controlling their children. Warnings and shamingjthe child are
started early by criticizing him for not doing what is proper and approved.
128 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Parents also attempt to divert, rather than prohibit, children from doing un-
desirable things. Sometimes misbehavior is simply ignored; little children are
allowed to scream in rage, which, according to old belief, will make them strong.
Spanking is rare, although it seems to be becoming more frequent among mixed-
blood families. Full-bloods say that spanking will make a child crazy and are
contemptuous of parents who slap or whip.
The punitive controls are the child frighteners, such as the mythical Tchitchi
man, Sioko, a crazy man, and a witch who appears as a thistle. These figures are
used to keep the child from wandering away from home. Wiwili, a mysterious
spirit who frightens or catches children who go near the creeks, is used to keep
the children away from the water. Significantly, all threatening or frightening is
done through invoking these supernatural figures or humans who are outside
the family group. Even more significant is the fact that the human figure used as
a child frightener is usually a white man. It can readily be seen that, unless there
is some friendly white person in the child's early life, fear may be built up which
will condition a child against whites for years, if not for life.
Play was a way of learning as well as recreation for the child in the old Dakota
society and is so regarded today. Small boys were formerly given little bows and
arrows with which to imitate hunters and warriors in their play. They were also
given the foot bones of a buffalo, which they used as toy horses and buffalo. Little
boys today are encouraged to play with a rope and slingshot and to chase the
rooster and smaller animals in the yard, in order to develop aggressiveness. The
foot bones, now those of a horse or cow, are called "horses" and "cattle," each
being designated by its general form or some facet of the bone as a stallion, mare,
mule, bull, cow } or steer. This kind of play intensifies and gives expression to the
boy's first interest in animals and the career of a cowboy.
From the time they can walk, little girls have dolls with which they play in
imaginary episodes of the activities of older girls and women. This play is fre-
quently centered around dressing and undressing dolls, wrapping them in blan-
kets, and putting them into toy wagons made of boxes. Little girls also have many
paper dolls made by cutting pictures out of magazines. These pictures of white
people in white clothes have no little significance in determining later standards
of feminine dress and appearance. The little girls also play at cooking, washing
clothes, and keeping house. It is not long before they are given little chores as
part of their play to teach them the household duties of the women.
Pine Ridge children dress much likethe white children in any midwestern rural
community. The only Indian elements in the everyday appearance are the long
130 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
braids worn by some small full-blood boys, but these are invariably cut by the
time the child is ready for school. Doting grandmothers may make a beaded
buckskin suit, but it is always thought of as a costume and is worn only at fairs
and Indian dances where the child participates beside his costumed elders. Some
parents buy wide-brimmed hats and high-heeled boots which enhance little boys'
favorite imaginary role of cowboy. Otherwise children in their homes and at
school look much like any group of white American boys and girls.
As soon as infant clothing is outgrown, little girls are put into short cotton
dresses. As they grow older, they wear the cotton or wool dresses, the sweaters
and skirts, and the socks worn by all American schoolgirls. No Pine Ridge girl
today wears the ankle-length dress, cloth leggings, and moccasins occasionally
seen on the old grandmothers. The shawl, which is still worn by most older
women, is not used by the schoolgirl, although she may wear it in her home or at
an Indian dance and may adopt it for general wear after she has left school. The
schoolgirl's usual outdoor garment is a heavy sweater or cloth coat and the scarf
worn over the head by many white girls. It is very rare for an Indian girl or
woman to wear a hat. The long pigtails worn by the little girls look much like
those in our society. Older girls cut their hair and most of them, like their white
counterparts, make some attempt to cultivate a "wave."
Little boys are dressed much like their fathers from the time they discard their
baby clothes. Every boy beyond the toddling stage wears the same kind of clothes
he will wear all his life long trousers or dungarees, a shirt, and a felt hat or
hunting cap. He may have a suit for dress affairs, as his father has a suit for wear
at church or on long trips off the reservation. At school he may wear a sweater.
But, by and large, he wears the same costume most of his life.
This habit of dressing children much like adults, without the rompers, the
jerseys, and the other articles worn by the young white child, is not without sig-
nificance. It epitomizes the Dakota philosophy of training, after the early years;
the child is hurried toward adulthood.
1. Erik Hamburger Erikson, "Observations on Sioux Education," Journal of Psychology, VII
3. lbid n p. 139. .
4. Dorothea Leighton, MJX, U.S.I.S,, personal communication.
f ^HE years between five and ten are a period of great changes in the behavior
I of any child, white or Indian. White children show~a marked expansiveness
JL and spontaneity in their personalities and a desire to move into social circles
outside their families. At about five they are sent to school, to begin their educa-
tion and to associate with children of their age in the community. By the time
they are ready for school, they have been generally trained in the proper relation-
ships to observe toward other people and much of the behavior that they will be
expected to exhibit at school.
Dakota children of five or six have also been trained in the proper behavior to
observe in their society; but the relationship to adults is less one of obedience to
authority, and discipline has been much moreTn'fKe form of guidance and en-
couragement to do the right thing than punishment for misbehavior. Hence, by
the time he is five or six, the Dakota child has acquired a feeling of security and
affection in the family. His training has been far less intensive than the white
child's, for it is at about this age that his serious training really begins.
The training for the home duties of men and women, which began in play
when the child was younger, is continued now by asking the child to perform
many chores. The boys begin to chop wood, carry water, and ride horses to look
after the livestock, and the girls wash dishes, clean the house, and take care of
smaller children. Horses are substituted for bone toys and real babies for dolls.
This work at home increases until, by the time the children are ten, eleven, or
twelve, they can do much of the work of fathers and mothers.
Although the avoidance observed between brothers and sisters in the old so-
ciety has been abandoned, children of five or six begin to imitate the general
separation of the sexes hi public. Fathers may take young sons into the men's part
of the circle at a public feast or into the men's side of the church. The boys also
begin to play separately from the girls. The girls feel a greater pressure to avoid
boys. They see their mothers and older sisters keep to themselves an,d show fear
of men. The little girls are also taught to be modest and are criticized for striking
back at aggressive brothers or other boys.
132 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Control over misbehavior is exercised by shaming, which becomes more
intense when the child continues to do wrong after he has learned the proper
mode of conduct. Shaming is applied not only to misbehaving youngsters but
also to the selfish and competitive child, who seeks to gain to the disadvantage
of others, an act which brings strong criticism from both parents and other
children. It is by this means that children are taught not to disrupt the co-opera-
tive aspects of Dakota life.
Observers visiting the Pine Ridge communities in the course of this study fre-
quently noticed older children of the five- to ten-year-old group playing or
visiting homes at some distance from their own. This was particularly true of the
older boys, who are good riders by this age and can travel into other communities
on their horses. Children of eight to ten are taken more frequently on trips to
off-reservation towns or to the harvest camps than when they were younger. Both
their world of acquaintances and their knowledge of the outside world become
broadened. But the most important medium for making new acquaintances is
the school, which now becomes the great center of interest in their lives.
Most Dakota children like going to school. They find the school activities of
great interest and much more absorbing than the rather monotonous life at home.
During summer vacation, many children asked the interviewers when school
would begin again. Yet, in spite of their eagerness to attend, problems do arise,
particularly over the differences between Indian and white systems of training
and the adjustment of the child on entering school. Some of the children faced
with new problems of response or adjustment behave in ways which are often
baffling to their teachers.
EDUCATION IN THE PINE RIDGE SCHOOLS
The objectives of the reservation schools are to stimulate habits and attitudes
desirable for children in the particular circumstances of the Dakota and to build
up a body of knowledge to carry on life on the reservation and with white society.
The essential work of the day school is teaching the primary tool subjects
reading, writing, arithmetic, arid, for many children, the English language and
creating interests in the fundamental economic and social activities of the
The educational method is based on class projects or activities which are cen-
tered around the home, pet animals, and health. Garden projects create an early
interest in farming and the production of food an interest still not highly de-
veloped among the older Dakota. Pet animals are kept in the classroom or on the
school farm in order that the children may learn affection and consideration for
them. In spite of their great traditional interest in horses and dogs, the Sioux are
not kind masters, and the children often treat animals cruelly at home. In addition
to humanitarian considerations, different attitudes and treatment are necessary if
the children are to gain much of their living by handling domestic animals.
The project method is exceptionally well suited for educating the Dakota
children because it follows their own method of learning by doing and following
the example of others. By bringing the children to participate and to share in the
work and the responsibility for completion of a project, this method also re-
inforces the training for co-operative work already begun in the family.
The project method has a special value for many reservation children who
know little or no English when they enter school. Working with bilingual chil-
dren who can translate for them and help them to build up English vocabularies
is a great help to the shy Indian-speaking children. Projects are immensely
successful in diverting the timid new child's attention from the strange school
situation, which often terrifies him at first, and in getting him to enter into school
life. By working or playing with others, he makes new friends and has a good
time. Projects are also a basis by which the teacher can establish herself as a
friendly and kindly person, interested in the child's welfare and happiness.
The present curriculum at Pine Ridge has been functioning for about seven or
eight years not long enough for an evaluation of its full effect upon children
who have finished school. However, it is already evident in the schools that
children have become increasingly interested in the rural-life programs and
especially in the raising of livestock.
Each day school provides the children with a noon meal, and a lunch is served
to the younger students just before dismissal. The hot noon meals have been an
important factor in building up the health of the majority of Pine Ridge children,
who look upon the quantity and variety of the food as a luxury.
The school program includes the moving pictures and dramatics usually found
in white schools and special programs for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiv-
ing, and Christmas. The school games for young children are all white games.
The primary grades teach "Tag," "Drop the Handkerchief," "Farmer in the
Dell," and other group games in which one child is "it." The majority of children
playing unsupervised, however, choose group games of two sides. The boys play
"Indian and Whiteman," known as "Indians and Cowboys," in which the prefer-
ence is to be the cowboy on the pursuing and winning side. Another game,
"Beaver," is played by two sides of both boys and girls, one running through the
line of the other to reach a point of safety. The small children at the boarding
school also make up play about things they see in the weekly school movies. Dur-
ing the winter of 1943 the "game-of-the-week" was likely to be the re-enactment
with hobby horses of the rides and fights of "cowboys" or the fights between
"sailors" and "pirates" with homemade wooden swords.
134 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
The most popular sports are Softball and basketball. As few children have
either ball or baskets at home, the latter is played almost exclusively in the
school gymnasiums. These games have been played for so long that they are now
part of the school and community life and are not looked upon as having been
learned from the white people.
PROBLEMS OF ADJUSTMENT
For the Dakota child of five or six, entering school is a radical change from
the comparatively confined and simple life of his rural neighborhood. The many
new children, the teacher, and the competition create strange and often fright-
ening situations to which adjustments must be made.
The child enters a class of many children whom he has never seen. In the
larger schools at Kyle and Pine Ridge he may be in a classroom with thirty or
forty other children and see a hundred or more older children on the playgound.
It is difficult for youngsters to feel secure in these large groups, and many refuse
to stay in school unless a parent or grandparent remains with them for several
days. This is not different from the experience of white children, but Dakota
children face many situations for the first time which can be more confusing or
frightening. Until they go to school, most children except those living in Pine
Ridge town are unaccustomed to travel by car or bus, to large rooms and build-
ings, to lavatories and flush toilets, and to hallways filled with children.
One of the most important adjustments, and for a short period one of the most
difficult for the young child in his,newjchool situation, is with the teacher. The
reader will recall that white people have been used as frighteners in many Dakota
children's early training. To be placed suddenly under the authority of a white
person and to have to depend on her for care can be a very disturbing and fright-
ening experience. Until the teacher can establish herself as a friendly and helpful
person, the child may remain highly alarmed.
In some classes this conflict may be reduced if the teacher herself is an Indian.
Yet the greater ease of adjustment to an Indian teacher miy be offset in part if
she uses white school disciplinary methods. Again, the teacher may come from an
Indian culture which trains children in a different way. Hence, although she may
be sympathetic with her students because she also is an Indian, at the same
time she may act in ways to which Dakota children are unaccustomed.
From both the Indian and the white teacher the child must accept direction and
authority which are imposed more sharply and severely than in the child's home.
He must move with groups, march in line, accept instructions, and refrain from
following his own fancy to the degree to which he has been accustomed. Another
great difficulty for many children from non-English-speaking homes is inability
to understand thej:eacher's simplest directions and, indeed, much o what is going
on in the classroom.
Observers in this study noted that in the early grades there were many systems
for competition among the children and many ways of rewarding individual
behavior. Little children were asked to perform before the class. Drawings were
compared to select the best. The work of one individual was held up before the
others as an outstanding example. Charts with the names of the class, showing
individual records or gold stars for perfect work, were hung on the walls as de-
vices to reward competitive effort and to stimulate those on the bottom to do
It is only natural for a white teacher, or an Indian teacher who has been trained
in the white school system, to introduce competitive activities into classwork, but
the younger Dakota children find them difficult to understand. Some, it is true,
particularly the mixed-bloods, accept competitive work readily, and others soon
learn to compete; but many refuse to enter into competition, withdraw from
activities, and sometimes become unwilling to make any response.
Part of this behavior is due to the lack of preparation for competitive activity.
The ideal of Dakota life in the old days was co-operation, and, although competi-
tion was permitted adults in limited fields of activity, 1 it was not taught the
young child. Such competition as existed was to maintain position and good
performance relative or equal to others in the band. There were no "stars" and
no laggards. Severe criticism was exerted on the child who sought to "shine" in
unapproved ways or before he was old enough. The great sensitivity to shame,
built up from his earliest years, also kept down any desire to excel to the disad-
vantage of others. And so it is todays-competition is discouraged by sharp criti-
cisnxand provoked embarrassment. To be asked to compete in class goes against
the grain with the Dakota^child, and he criticizes the competitive ones among
BEHAVIOR IN SCHOOL
It should be reiterated that most of the children enjoy school after the first dif-
ficulties are overcome, but certain conflicts have been described above because
they stem from fundamental differences between white and Indian cultures.
Other typical behavior problems are embarrassment, refusal to participate or
talk, and running away. The stimuli for this behavior are apparent in the school
situation already discussed; i.e., fear of the teacher as a white person, inability to
speak English, and the demand for individual performance and competition.
The conditioning factors of early Indian child-training -cause not only the con-
flict but also the resultant type of behavior.
or suppress all response is a human reaction, and one which
FOUR SIOUX BOYS
the Dakota children see their elders exhibit on numerous occasions. It is the Sioux
pattern not to give one's self away or show any emotion which would lower
one's self-respect or pride before outsiders.
Running away from a difficult or overwhelming situation is also learned by
the Dakota cKild. Asli little child he is taught to run away at the appearance
of whites. He sees his parents quit work or move from a community when they
do not like or cannot face a situation. According to the Dakota pattern, it is quite
acceptable to escape personal conflict by running away, and no stigma is attached
to such action. Hence it is to be expected that children who do not adjust easily
to school will run away. Moreover, the child is not punished when he runs home.
The problem_pf embarrassment or being ashamed is more difficult because it is
such a common reaction among Dakota children and is evoked for no reason per-
ceptible to the teacher. The reader is already aware how strong a social pressure is
exerted by ridicule and criticism. Perhaps examples of how this is taught the
child and the emphasis laid upon conforming and keeping up with the group will
explain why the Dakota child is so sensitive to shame.
Young boys used to make a little camp outside the camp circle. In imitation of
their warrior fathers they would try to slip into their homes and steal food. Those
who returned to the boys' camp without food had marks painted on their faces
as a sign of disgrace. 2
This attitude still appears in the children's games, in spite of their adoption of
white competitive sports. Not so long ago, a school track team was reluctant to
run because they knew they could not win, and a basketball team did not want
their parents and neighbors to come to an interschool game for fear they would
laugh at their mistakes or failure to win.
Thus the white man's desire to excel is turned by the Dakota into a fear of
becoming ridiculous through losing. It is this attitude that makes children with-
draw and become highly embarrassed when they are asked to recite in broken
English or to perform before others in things they are only learning to do.
Behavior between boys and girls is also a problem to the teacher new to the
Indian schools. The younger boys and girls voluntarily divide into sex groups
when they come into the classroom and sit at different tables. Teachers often
attempt to change this habit, not realizing that it is deeply intrenched in many
of their students. This custom usually breaks down easily in group games, but
in spite of classroom influence the children maintain strong sex divisions through-
out their day-school years.
Aggressive behavior on the part of the boys 3 and the girls' fear of them, which
are deeply ingrained in Dakota culture, also tend to maintain sex divisions in
school. Observers in this study noticed that children passing in the school halls
and playing in the yard showed an amount of aggression not characteristic in
138 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
white schools. Boys were constantly hitting or pushing the girls, who sometimes
retaliated by fighting back or ganging up on a single offensive boy. Teachers
received many complaints about the boys' behavior, and parents occasionally
came to school to register their complaints about the treatment of their daughters
at the hands of the boys.
Before passing to the description of older children's behavior, it is important
to note that problems which are so apparent among the adolescents and adults
at Pine Ridge begin very early in the individual's life. The day school, by the way
in which it treats the child when he enters school and helps him to adjust, to find
security and happiness, can reduce much of the conflict and prepare the child
for a more stable adjustment in later life.
1. Winning war honors, giving away property, and adhering to womanly virtues.
2. Black Elk, Black Elk. Speaks (Xew York: W. W. Morrow & Co., 1932), p. 59.
3. For a discussion of Sioux aggression see chap, xii and Appendix II.
f I ^HIS chapter covers roughly the years from eleven to seventeen in the life of
I the Dakota child, including the last years a child spends at home before
JL going to boarding school, the boarding-school years, and entrance into adult
life. Physiologically this period covers both late childhood and adolescence; but,
because the Sioux child's life centers on the boarding school, the material of this
chapter has been organized around it.
The age at which students enter boarding school depends on the number of
grades in the day school in their home community. Some children begin boarding
school as early as the seventh grade. Most of the reservation children, like those
of Wanblee and Kyle, enter at the ninth or tenth grade. Age at entrance ranges
from fourteen to eighteen. 1
LATE CHILDHOOD IN THE COMMUNITY
By the time the child has reached his twelfth or thirteenth birthday, his home is
still the only place of any security. Within his Indian society, there are no other
groups and few activities in which he can participate and form any bonds of close
relationship. At home, his family relations appear on the surface to be happy and
pleasant, but many of the boys show restlessness under the direction and discipline
of their mothers. Although the fathers undertake some direction of their sons'
behavior and work at home, this authority often appears very ineffective. There
are, however, some marked exceptions, like Charlie Charging Bull's father, who is
described in the next chapter.
The strong traditional bonds between Dakota brothers are also evident at this
age when boys do not stay so much in their homes and begin to rove about the
district in groups. As a rtile, boys are kind and loyal to their sisters and act im-
mediately in their defense. However, life-histories and school reports reveal an
increase in fighting between boys of this age group in both the home and the
school. Perhaps this is due in part to the type of behavior allowed and encouraged
in boys when they are younger, but the strong resistance at this age to parental
control and the development of quarreling with age mates are forms of over-
HO WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
aggressive and rebellious behavior which reveal anxiety as well as signs of
At home the boys now accept responsibility for doing household and farm
chores and, by the time they are fourteen or fifteen, many accompany their fami-
lies or go alone to work in the harvest fields of white farmers. For those who go
with a gang of men or married brothers and their families, this is an opportunity
to break away from the confinement of parental control. Boys at this age leave also
because of their desire to travel and to see the towns outside the reservation with
their rodeos and movies.
Girls of twelve and thirteen show behavior almost opposite to that of the boys.
They become more identified with the family as they become old enough to take
an adult role with their mothers in the household work. They continue to look
after younger brothers and sisters. In fact, if there are many children in the
family, the older sister carries much of the responsibility of feeding and bathing
the small children. The sketches of Mickey and of Priscilla in the next chapter
show examples of the role and important function of the older sisters in the
The twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls, now approaching physical maturity,
are kept at home more than the boys for protection. The girls appear afraid of
boys and men, and they always travel with older girls or elders in their family.
This is in keeping with the old Dakota custom; for, even though the girls now
have many opportunities to travel alone going to school, to the store, or to social
affairs they do not seem to wish to go by themselves. Observers in this study
noticed that very few girls of this age ride horseback, although many girls a few
years younger ride around the communities in the summertime. Formerly girls
and women rode when the family traveled, but they gave up riding thirty or
forty years ago when missionaries and teachers made them feel it was immodest. 2
Older girls and women today travel in their communities either on foot or in a
The older girls rarely play with boys of their age; the separation of the sexes in
play, started at an earlier age, now becomes complete. This is due in part, of
course, to the fact that the boys spend many of their out-of-school hours on horse-
back, while girls do not. Outside the school, girls' association with people at any
distance from home and their attendance at church meetings, young people's
groups, and community dances are always under the chaperonage of their fam-
ilies or older women. On a few occasions our observers saw young full-blood girls
going to a community dance in company with older brothers, a situation that
would never have occurred when the brother-sister taboo was in force.
The girls like to go to the outlying towns and to the harvest fields with their
families or relatives, for these occasions provide almost the only opportunity for
FOUR SIOUX GIRLS
142 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
them to see the world outside the reservation. The motion-picture theaters are
the greatest attraction. During the winter months the children in the rural areas
see movies at school, but these are shown infrequently; in the school year of
1942-43 the school at Kyle had none at all.
GOING AWAY TO SCHOOL
The education of Dakota children at the Oglala Community High School at
Pine Ridge town follows the objectives and methods of the earlier grades. 3 A
graduate must have credits in English, history, mathematics, the social and
physical sciences, and vocational training, but much of the education in these
fields is acquired through integrated project work. The high-school projects are
centered around the school herd and farm, the girls' practice cottage and home
economics workrooms, and the arts and crafts shop. The major objective is to
teach the fundamental knowledge required by people who are going to live by
cattle and the land in a small rural home and in reservation society. 4
Boys learn by doing all types of work necessary for the successful running of
beef herds. One of the most important activities in the practical training is a junior
livestock association, through which boys can earn cattle by work at school and,
on graduation, take them home as a foundation herd. Simple carpentry and
machine repair needed to service the farm home and equipment are also part of
the boys' training.
Girls are taught the essentials of home management, including nutrition. They
may also learn at school a number of crafts which will bring additional income
into the home, and many become skilled weavers and potters.
Allied with the vocational training in some respects is the performance of school
maintenance work by the students. Such work as the care and milking of the
school dairy herd, repair work, and the construction of new buildings like a
rammed earth barn can readily be made valuable training in farm life. Helping
in the school kitchen and dining-room may also be useful to girls. But operating
the school laundry machines, cleaning the campus and classrooms, and similar
chores fall into the category of institutional labor, whatever training value may
be connected with them. Owing to the limitation of appropriations for Indian
schools, such work is necessary; but its educational value is slight, and much of it
is still carried on as a traditional part of the former school system where the aim of
the superintendent was to make the school self-sufficient, regardless of the educa-
tional value of the work involved.
In the field of social studies the main emphasis is on reservation organization.
Study of the structure and function of the local agency^ tEe"a>nstitution and tribal
government of the Pine Ridge Indians, and the history of the Indian Service and
its policies are all designed to give the students knowledge of how their society
functions. The general subjects in the field of civics are also included. 5
Equally important to the education of Dakota youth is experience in self-gov-
ernment. The student body has its own council for directing the school social
activities and advising faculty committees on student problems. The girls have a
councilor system in their dormitory, and the boys have a dormitory government of
mayor and officers modeled after the famous Boys' Town in Omaha. These self-
government institutions serve both as training in democratic methods and as
practice in the exercise of group controls and responsibility to the group which
are sorely needed in the adult reservation society.
The boarding school has a fully developed recreational life which follows the
pattern of athletics, entertainments, dances, and parties in the average American
high school. The Oglala football, baseball, basketball, and track teams compete
with other high schools in the regional and state tournaments. Classes present
plays and exhibitions. The dormitory groups entertain one another at evening
parties of dancing, games, and refreshments, and about once a month a class or
the student council holds a school dance in the gymnasium. The three motion-
picture shows each week in the school auditorium, one being free to all students,
are major recreational events.
Except for an occasional week end at home and a short Christmas vacation,
the boy or girl attending boarding school is separated from the lif e of 1 his com-
munity for nine months of the year and is brought into a society organized in a
white pattern with many differences from his home life. For one thing, his whole
day at school is regulated by time, from six in the morning, when he arises to the
power-plant whistle, to nine-thirty in the evening, when he is ordered to put out
his lights. Classes, chores, athletics, study hall, and meals all take place according
to the clock. The Dakota child has had some experience with a regular schedule
in the day school, but life completely run by the clock calls for considerable ad-
justment on the part of many Indian children who, as noted in the preceding
. chapters, have little acquaintance with white concepts of punctuality.
Eating and sleeping are also different. The three large and regular meals to
which the child sits down each day in the dining-hall and the regular eight hours
of sleep are not usual in the Indian home.
Cleanliness and neat personal appearance become much more important than
in the day school. This is strongly impressed upon the child when on entering
school he is examined for head lice and skin sores and, if necessary, treated by
the advisers or school nurse. He is sent at once to the showers and given clean
clothes, and much pressure is brought to bear upon him to keep clean. Each
child must keep his bed and personal property in orderly condition and help to
clean his dormitory room and building.
144 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
In the boarding school the child has many more teachers than in the elementary
school. His home-room teacher organizes his project work as well as teaching the
academic studies. There are also music and vocational instructors, athletic
coaches, directors of social activities and maintenance work, and dormitory ad-
visers. The child's association and informal relationships with many white and
Indian teachers are a very important factor in the development of his personality
-and attitudes at this time. He comes to these persons for help and decisions
which he would normally expect from his parents. Through personal relation-
ships that occur outside of class, the teacher learns more of the student's character
and has the opportunity to advise and direct in his development.
In addition to the advice and guidance which the teachers offer in both formal
and informal contacts, their way of life has a very strong, though indirect, in-
fluence upon the attitudes of the children. In comparison with the rural homes of
Indians and most whites on the reservation, the teachers' homes seem luxurious.
Their clothes, their cars, and their trips off the reservation are a sharp contrast to
the colorless and, on the whole, empty life of most adult Dakota. These things
have obviously come to the teachers through salaried positions, and the inference
to the children is that salaries make possible the good life. Hence, many children
come to look upon Indian Service or other salaried employment as preferable to
farming or ranching. Thus the objectives of the school teaching children the
values and satisfactions of life on the land are partially negated by the values
and satisfactions of life as an employee which are always apparent to them. This
paradox is, of course, unavoidable and, to some extent, it exists in many teaching
situations elsewhere. It does, however, create doubt and conflict in the minds of
children in the reservation schools.
The social relationships between boys and girls in the boarding school are
based on the modern white principles of "normal" associations of young people
in the classroom and on the campus. The Indian boys and girls "date," walk and
sit together, and meet in the town as do students in any small-town high school.
Restraint and self-consciousness are common among Indian children when they
enter boarding school because this type of behavior is not sanctioned in the home
communities. However, movies, magazine stories, the visits to white high schools,
and the example of older boys and girls soon overcome the traditional pattern of
avoiding the opposite sex in public. In general, boys and girls are well behaved
and friendly toward each other; the hitting and slapping so common between
the young boys and girls decreases among those of fifteen and sixteen. Occasion-
ally, the love affairs in school lead to couples' running away.
Up to about 1930, student behavior was controlled by the boys' and girls' dis-
ciplinarians, who were allowed to employ severe physical punishment. This type
of discipline has now been banned, and the milder penalities invoked today take
the form of deprivation of privileges and loss of prestige. A more positive control
of behavior has been attempted through the organization of student government,
but the general effect of the present disciplinary system is lack of consistency. In
the classroom the teachers punish misbehavior by scolding, threatening, or
frightening the child and depriving him of privileges. In a few classes teachers
have organized student government and presented serious problems of offenses
against the class, like stealing from the treasury, for group discipline. In the dor-
mitories the advisers reprimand students for minor infractions of the rules but
present the major cases to the dormitory council. Punishments meted out by the
council vary from doing extra cleaning work in the building to losing social
privileges and positions in the student government. In some serious cases, the
boys send the offender down the "belt line," which is unofficially sanctioned.
Consistent offenders, children who continually skip classes, run away from
school, or become behavior problems to all their teachers, are reported to the
faculty guidance committee. However, the action of this committee is frequently
indecisive, and the cases are left for further discussion or ultimate solution by the
The difficulty in making discipline more effective seems to rise from doubt as
to where authority for invoking sanctions lies. Serious cases, such as drunkenness
or entering and stealing, are referred to the reservation superintendent of educa-
tion. In especially difficult cases, school officials occasionally prefer charges in
the Tribal Court. This is usually in connection with damage or stealing of prop-
erty, getting drunk, and sex affairs, types of behavior which are particularly
offensive to the white teachers. In the several charges so preferred against boys
and girls in 1943, the usual action was to suspend sentence, exact court costs, and
place the student on probation to the school. Thus the law was invoked, only to
return the case once more to the school. Furthermore, the school is not always
consistent in preferring charges. In the case of one boy, who was jailed for stealing
and drinking denatured alcohol, charges were withdrawn by the school in a few
days because the jail did not seem the "right place" for him and, incidentally, he
was needed to play in a basketball game.
In spite of the comparative lightness of sentences imposed by the Tribal Court
and the inconsistent attitude of the school, thejtudents manifest a strong fear of
the jail a fear which comes down through the whole historical experience of the
tribe on the reservation. 6 The modern school discipline of utilizing the Tribal
Court, which is against official policy and regulation, serves to perpetuate a
negative attitude rather than to create a useful and positive one. Thus it seems
obvious that the invocation of court sanctions in even a very few disciplinary cases
146 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
creates a heightened emotional reaction against the school and serves to add to
the child's frustrations rather than to secure better behavior.
The boarding school is to the great majority of the students an interesting and
even exciting environment. The interests of school work, the physical comfort,
which is indeed luxury as compared with their own homes, and the associations
with schoolmates and teachers often make the high-school years among the pleas-
antest and most eventful in their lives. Yet the great majority of the students who
enter high school do not graduate. The reasons why the school does not hold more
students have been the subject of study by the Indian Service and may be in-
dicated only briefly here to show their effect upon the personalities of Dakota
adolescents. Some of them lie in the nature of the environment and have little to
do with the form or content of the school experience. Others may be attributed
either directly or indirectly to the conflicts set up by school life.
Among the reasons which may be said to lie outside the school are the facts
that some students are too old on entering to be expected to finish the course and
also that many families need the assistance of older children in increasing the
family income. Students who are sixteen or seventeen when they are high-school
freshmen are likely, by the time they near twenty, to leave for work or marriage.
Withdrawal to help the family may well be expected in a poverty-stricken society.
At present, most older boys are joining the armed forces.
Another reason for withdrawal seems to lie in the economy. A small number
of students leave before finishing high school because the type of education they
receive is designed to equip them for a life they believe they cannot live. Many
students and their families have no land on which a boy or girl can run cattle and
no money to lease land. Furthermore, students do not see in their home com-
munities very good prospects of a happy or profitable life on the land. It takes
several years to make money from a herd, and adolescents are likely to become
pessimistic at seeing men with more experience than themselves living by rations
for a year or two in order to become even moderately self-sufficient. To these stu-
dents, life off the reservation and the immediate returns from wage work appear
far more attractive. Why, they ask, should they go on preparing for something
else? This attitude and the expectation of getting wage work after graduation
are frequently expressed.
More important than the foregoing reasons to a study of personality are the
truancies and drop-outs due to conflicts between the white and Dakota systems
of training and treatment of children, especially in discipline. Like many Indian
schools, Oglala Community High School has a high proportion of runaways who
leave school for a short time or for good. In recent years they have been fewer in
number, but they are still frequent enough to show difficulties of adjustment.
The size of the student body 690 day and boarding pupils and the conse-
quent lack of much personal attention or affection lead to insecurity in children
whose family, even if it were broken, has always given them a sense of pro-
tection. Hence, they flee from the school to the home of a parent or relative to
regain what little security is afforded there. Children brought up by parents who
in the Indian fashion rarely reprimand, who patiently wait until a child wishes to
carry put a request, and who do not enforce immediate responses with threats
of punishment find the disciplinary measures of many white teachers difficult to
accept. Being shamed or ridiculed by a teacher before other children on the cam-
pus and being threatened with court action cause a number of children to become
resentful and run home.
Frequently the conflict arises from having to do things at set times and without
choice. For example, during the testing for the present study, one somewhat
sullen full-blood boy with considerable artistic ability did not wish to complete
the drawing tests, partly because he was suspicious and partly because he did not
want to do extra work. He sat through the drawing period and then called his
brother and ran home with him. The older boy was allowed to leave home in a
day or two to work in the beet fields, and the younger brother remained out of
school until the boys' adviser from the school inquired at the home the reason for
the prolonged absence.
Conflicts between the full-blood and mixed-blood groups in the reservation so-
ciety cause some children to leave school. These conflicts, stemming from dif-
ferences in habits and attitudes of the two groups, are symbolized by the children
in terms of color. Since many of the light mixed-bloods are indistinguishable
from white children, they are frequently called "white" and "dirty white trash"
by the children of predominantly Indian blood. The mixed-bloods sometimes
retaliate by calling the darker children "nigger," but usually the term of oppro-
brium is "dirty" or "lousy Indian." 7 The older mixed-bloods look upon full-
bloods as "dumb" and "backward." The full-bloods consider mixed-bloods
"tricky," "liars," and (surprisingly to whites) "dirty." Older full-blood girls, who
are often neater and more poised in their manner, dislike rooming with mixed-
bloods because they are unclean and rowdy. The full-blood girls are especially
concerned at having mixed-blood girls see them undressed.
As might be expected from the sex code described in chapter viii, older boys
and girls frequently run away for illicit sex affairs. In these cases it is frequently
the younger brothers and sisters at school who bear the brunt of the criticism
which the Sioux have developed to a fine art Two boys and two girls ran away
from the Pine Ridge school and spent several days and nights in an abandoned
cabin, afterward leaving the reservation. The younger sister of one of the girls and
another relative, who were also students in the boarding school, were teased about
148 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
this affair by other students and were accused of being immoral themselves. The
two young girls were so shamed by the criticism that they asked to be allowed to
go home. When they were refused permission, they ran away. The police were
sent for them, and they were put in jail until the mother of one took them home.
These examples show that, when Dakota children under pressure from great
conflict can stand the tension no longer, they run away. The high sensitivity to
criticism also appears as a related cause for running away. This behavior is the
extreme and more explicit overt form of withdrawing internally from situations
the common reaction of Dakota children under stress, as we saw in chapter x.
ENTERING ADULT LIFE
- On leaving high school, the Dakota boy or girl must decide whether to return
home or leave the reservation to make a living, unless he plans to go to college or
vocational school. Deciding what to do and where to go is normally difficult. In
1938 only 36 out of 239 former students of the three high schools on Pine Ridge
and the adjoining Rosebud Reservation had left the reservation for more than
short periods. 8 This was due in part, of course, to the lack of jobs elsewhere during
the depression years and to opportunites for relief employment on the reservation.
Since 1940 this trend has been reversed, and in recent years most boys and many
girls have left school to join the armed forces or to work in war industries.
Neither situation is "normal," but the tendency to remain on the reservation
except in boom times is clearly indicated.
Why do Dakota youths prefer to stay on the reservation, where income is low
and where life on the whole is dull compared with that in urban centers where
they can earn more money ? The answer lies in part in^the strong sense of family
<$plidarity whicMsjm^ to the Dakota child. Perhaps more
apparent, k jthe fact, that Indians have difficulty in adjusting to life in white
cbmm&aki&s. Yet the adjustments whicE theTormer" "students must make if he
returns to his own home are in many ways more difficult.
When boys and girls go away to high school, their home is the place of greatest
security. They return to it after high school, hoping to regain the security and
affection they remember from their childhood. But with the need to earn a
living and take party in family and community life as young adults, the realities
of life at home appear in a stronger light. The idleness of many of the men, the
lack of opportunities, the dependence of the people upon the government, the
conflicts and instability within families and communities, and the pressure of
criticism undermine the young people's faith in themselves and in what educa-
tion can do for them, as well as their security in their own group.
Life at home is easier and yet harder than at boarding school. On the one
hand, the returned student is free from school discipline and routine; on the other
hand, he meets the folkways and controls of Indian life. Young unmarried men
and women are not allowed to associate as freely in the Indian community as
they are in school. They find that life at home is dull in comparison with the
activity of classwork, sports, and social life at school. Many young people also find
that the limited and rather monotonous meals and the crowded quarters at home
Economic adjustments are hard for some youths, particularly the boys. They
have been trained at school to live on the land, principally through running beef
herds. Some boys have returned home with a few cattle earned through a junior
livestock association, which they could use as a foundation for their own herd or
pool with their fathers' cattle. But many boys have left school without cattle, or
they have had no land on which to run stock or money with which to start opera-
tions. Sons of landless families who return home must look for such wage work
as they can find on the reservation or go outside with their families for seasonal
agricultural labor. As a result, many boys are likely to question the value of their
Nonagricultural wage work on the reservation is largely limited to employ-
ment by the Indian Service. Most of the non-civil-service jobs are those of truck-
drivers, laborers, janitors, carpenters, and automobile mechanics. Each school
has one or more bus-drivers, who also tend the heating and lighting plants, and a
housekeeper who cooks the noon lunches and assists the home economics teachers.
Wages are low in 1942 school bus-drivers were receiving $60 a month but the
rent for government quarters and other living costs are also low.
The opportunity for a high-school graduate to obtain one of these jobs is
limited, for they are coveted by older people. The young people are likely to try
for jobs at the Agency itself to escape the constant requests for assistance from
relatives if they live in their home communities. 9
Each year there are a few young people who go on to college or vocational
school to prepare for civil service positions as Indian Service teachers, farm aides,
or clerical workers. Almost universally they plan to seek employment on reserva-
tions other than their own. Some of them see such work as an escape from pres-
sures for assistance at home. To others it is a way of moving into middle-class
white life. Whatever the reason, the fact that these young people wish to work
elsewhere is indeed a handicap to their tribe, for it means a loss of potential leaders
and intelligent citizens.
For the students who do remain on the reservation, there are strong incentives
to participation in community life. Their school training in leadership and their
awareness of the poverty and frustration at home lead many of them to say, "I
want to do something to help my people," and to try to improve living conditions.
The elders expect the young people who have gone to school to help their own
150 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
communities. At the same time not always consciously the older people expect
the youths to adhere to the Dakota custom of remaining silent before their elders
and of following the more experienced leaders. This paradoxial attitude is dis-
turbing to young people who feel that, with their greater knowledge of English
and white culture, they can and should take some leadership in Pine Ridge affairs.
Leadership is also thwarted in some instances by the attitudes of white ad-
ministrators. While official policy directs the encouragement of Indian leadership
and self-direction, administrators are well aware of the reservation-wide belief
that most! of the troubles of the Pine Ridge Indians are due to the mistakes of the
government. They know also that, since early reservation days, criticizing the
agent or other officials in public meetings has been a form of counting coup
(striking the enemy to win honor). Hence there is a tendency to treat the young
Indian who voices opposition to government programs as a reactionary, an "agita-
tor," or a show-off. The fact that some young Indians have professed a desire to
better community life but have remained apathetic in the face of opportunities for
leadership does not help relations between the whole group and the Agency. Too
often, really thoughtful criticism or constructive suggestions are officially ignored.
The end result of returning home after school is thus dissatisfying for the
majority of Pine Ridge young people. Although they find reservation life prefer-
able to the social isolation they experience in white communities, the restraints
imposed upon them by their elders and by government and the lack of satisfying
community life of any kind frustrate and confuse them. They.find few social or
economic channels either in their home communities or in government programs
by which they can gain stability, economic success, and recognition. Life at home
offers no other roles than those of their fathers and mothers. They feel a deep
need for new roles and for social status.
This desire for some function and for recognition is readily apparent in the
eagerness with which the younger Sioux have volunteered for military service
and war industries. Their patriotism is as genuine as that of any other Americans,
but they see also an opportunity for activity that circumstances at home have
denied to many of them. In the eyes of the older people, and to some extent of *the
younger, the warrior's is the greatest role of all. To the young men and women it
means something to do, a chance to be respected by Indians and whites alike.
They gain deep satisfaction from the sense of equality with other young people
and from being wanted in the outside world a satisfaction that these Pine Ridge
youths have never felt before.
The exodus of boys and girls from school to jobs outside the reservation is al-
most a new phenomenon at Pine Ridge. It is said that many Pine Ridge Indians
went away to work during World War I, but between that time and 1941 ex-
tremely few young people went away to work in industries and to live in cities.
A study of the off-reservation employment of Rosebud Sioux made in 1941, 10
in which many Pine Ridge Indians were encountered, showed that Dakota young
people who were taking their first jobs or who had been employed off the reserva-
tion for two or three years varied widely in their success in working and living
among whites. Some young people had done well in their jobs and, by proving
their ability to do skilled work, had advanced in their occupation. More showed
instability by moving from job to job or by going back and forth between reserva-
tion and town. Social adjustment was not easy for any of them.
Coming to town with little money, they were forced to live in the poorest
rooming-houses and sometimes in auto camps. Only when they have achieved
some fairly well-paying job could they move to better quarters. Characteristically
these young people shared rooms and in general clung together, since their friends
were usually other Indians. The 1941 study showed that older Indians moved
into good neighborhoods and participated in white society only after years of
residence in a large town. Even after ten or fifteen years, their clubs and church
guilds were white in pattern but Indian in membership.
The social isolation in a white town which many Dakota young people experi-
ence 4s very discouraging. Young white people coming from the country are
also isolated, but they make friends and become accepted more easily and quickly
than Indian boys and girls, who do not know the folkways of whites and are not
sure enough of their English to associate easily with them. To whites, their
speech is odd, and their reserve and timidity make them seem unapproachable or
queer. Until they learn how to talk and act like white people, they are excluded
from white society. Sensitive to this exclusion, many Sioux are unable to stick it
out. They give up the attempt to be accepted by whites and associate only with
Indians or leave their jobs to return to the reservation.
A few boys and girls fail to form attachments to either respectable white or
Indian society in the towns and yet do not want to return to the reservation. These
young people drift to the bottom of the social order. Caught up with the worst
element of the white or Indian slums, they live in the shoddiest rooming-houses
or Indian camps at the edge of town and frequent the cheapest beer joints, dance
halls, and other gathering places of slum-dwellers. Occasionally they are picked
up for delinquency or vagrancy. They may have had no work or food for days.
Police or social agencies usually return them to their homes. Thereafter they
may be classed as delinquents, but beneath their surface behavior may be seen
their inability to find any place in either Indian or white society and their con-
fusion at trying to adjust to two conflicting cultures.
It appears that, whether Pine Ridge boys and girls decide to return home or
to leave the reservation for work, most of them do so at a price. On the reservation
152 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
there are few jobs at good pay. In the outside world recreational and social life
are limited, at least in the first years of residence. Not all boys and girls fail or
follow the same pattern of adjustment within or outside their own groups, but
the majority indicate difficulty in fitting into their social environment and a
sense of frustration because there is no way to follow and often more ill-will than
help from those around them.
Training in the schools is giving Dakota youth a preparation for an economy
that will develop in time on Pine Ridge, for intelligent daily living habits, and
in many ways for living in any community. But the younger generation appears
generally unprepared for their social position either at home or off the reservation
and the difficulties they will have to face after their school years. More important
than their lack of social preparation is the absence of a well-organized society and
well-marked channels to economic rewards and social status. The reorganization
which has already begun in some Pine Ridge communities will eventually make
opportunities for young people in the cattle programs- and business and social
councils. In the meantime, boys and girls returning from school will need the
planning and active support of their communities and government officials to
give them an opportunity and a place at home.
1. Most students of Pine Ridge town continue on a day-school basis, and thus boarding-school life
does not affect them so intensely as it does those who come from the outlying districts. This study did
not include any children who were attending the Holy Rosary Mission or off-reservation boarding
2. Allan Hulsizer, Region and Culture in the Curriculum of the Navaho and the Dakota (Federals-
burg, Md.: J. W. Stowell Co., 1940), p. 104.
3. The high-school studies at Holy Rosary Mission follow the older type of academic education, but
rural vocational work -has recently been introduced into the curriculum.
4. Willard W. Beatty, "Training Indians for tfie Best Use of Their Own Resources," in The
Changing Indian, ed. Oliver La Farge (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1942), pp. 128-
5. Office of Indian Affairs, Students' Handbook, Oglala Community High School, 1942-43
(Chilocco, Okla.: Chilocco School Press, 1942), and "Employees Handbook of Information, 1942-43,
Oglala Community High School" (Pine Ridge, 1942) (mimeographed).
6. See chaps, ii and viii.
7. These names are often used by the younger children without knowing the implications. For
example, the little mixed-bloods who look like white children will boast, "We're no Indians we're
8. Armin H. Sterner and Gordon Macgregor, "The Pine Ridge Vocational Survey," Indian Educa-
fto*,m (1938), 7-8.
9. See chap. viii.
10. John Useem, Gordon Macgregor, and Ruth Useem, "Wartime Employment and Cultural Ad-
justments of the Rosebud Sioux," Applied Anthropology, II (1943), 1-9.
PART III. THE PERSONALITY OF THE DAKOTA CHILD
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TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN
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f | SQ BEGIN the account of the findings of this study about the personality
I structure of Dakota children, sketches of ten children are presented. These
JL children vary in amount of Indian blood from full-blood to three-sixteenths,
and their ages range from eight to sixteen. They come from the three communi-
ties of the study. The personal and social adjustments of these children vary from
excellent to very poor. Some of these variations may be partly accounted for by
physical conditions or family losses, which may befall the individual in any so-
ciety; but the influence of their particular cultural position and social climate is
apparent in most of these personalities.
It is a premise of this study that a disorganized and threatening social environ-
ment causes for a group, as for an individual, great anxiety and feelings of inse-
curity. People attempt to build defenses against this state of feeling helpless. They
try to find safety or to retaliate against the forces that appear to threaten their
security. The resulting behavior is derived from a whole complex of circum-
stances. Therefore, in order to understand the behavior of the children as revealed
in the tests which were given them and which are described in the following
chapters, we must consider the kind of personality which has developed among
the Pine Ridge people as a whole.
The general disorganization of Dakota society today has been discussed in Part
I. What have been the effects of this disorganization upon individuals and par-
ticularly the effects of the conflicting attitudes described in chapter viii?
The first years of life on the reservation left indelible marks upon the Dakota.
With his social institutions deteriorating around him and white institutions and
attitudes being forcibly substituted, the individual felt overwhelmed and confused
from trying to make some choice. One reaction was to withdraw into himself and
to cover up his feelings. This constraint in the face of new situations is a pattern
of behavior which has been taught to Indian children for generations. It is the
"stoical reserve" which whites have noted as characteristic of the Plains Indians
154 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
since their first contacts. In the face of continuous changes and repeated frustra-
tions, this reserve has been employed for so long as a means of playing safe that it
has kept the individual from giving much release to his impulses or gaining any
real satisfaction from life or confidence in himself. The continued retreat inward
appears to have contributed to the characteristic apathy which marks the life of
each reservation community today. As previously noted, the observer is constantly
aware of the slowness and the low degree of social activity of reservation life. 1
However, a human being cannot continually suppress his emotions and the
expressions of his impulse life without compensating in some way, which may
become personal maladjustment. For men like the Dakota, who have been
trained to be highly aggressive persons with suitable targets for their aggressive
drives, continual suppression is bound to result in some violent expression of their
frustration. 2 In the increased amount of personal criticism and the splitting of the
tribe into progressives and conservatives, New Dealers and Old Dealers, co-
operative association members and competitive individualists, sociological full-
blood and mixed-blood groups, who hurl at one another such epithets as "dirty
Indian" and "poor white trash," some release of their aggression can be observed.
The pattern for this criticism stems from the old culture in which the most com-
mon means of social control was ridicule. 3 In the first days of reservation life it
was impossible for every man, woman, and child to "freeze up" under the new
circumstances. Many began to adapt themselves to the life the Agency held out to
them, although retaining their outward calm. These individuals were severely
criticized for "joining the enemy" and for not conforming to approved Dakota
behavior. As their group grew, they in turn criticized the "long-hairs" or con-
servatives. Thus application of social controls developed into an increasing
amount of criticism and pure release of hostility. 4 Frustrated at almost every
turn and in a short time psychologically defeated by the sudden and overwhelm-
ing changes, they began to turn upon one another and upon themselves.
Hostility 4ias- tees-expiJesjSfidUA.^ore violent ways than constant criticism.
Every so often there occurs some violent personal outbreak in a killing or a rape
or the wholesale destruction of property. On one occasion a house was burned
around a drunken occupant. Every white person who has lived in the reservation
for any length of time can report such incidents, usually ascribed to "native cruelty
and barbarity." These are the outbursts, usually released under influence of al-
cohol, of too-long-pent-up antagonisms against the government employees, all
whites, Indian neighbors, and even themselves.
Some of these outbursts take the form of cruel behavior for which there is
some precedent in warfare, scalping, and mutilating adulterous women. Now
that attack upon enemies has been completely blocked, men have turned in-
creasingly, in times of uncontrolled frenzy, upon women. The restriction placed
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 155
upon women in the past society made them objects of man's sexual aggression.
It is not difficult to understand how men, suddenly blocked in one course o their
aggression, should turn in another direction. Since there had been tacit approval
of sex aggression in the old society, this became a natural channel for aggressive
drive which had been denied other outlet. 5 Thus restrictions in one direction have
produced greater activity in another. It is not surprising to find occasional reports
of rape or murder and extremes of sexual license.
Another kind of destructive behavior, which is evidence of the restraint which
the Dakota have placed upon their inner life, is the self-punishment they exhibit
in times of extreme tension. A model for such behavior can be found in the tor-
ture features of the Sun Dance, in the ordeals of the vision quest, and in the self-
mutilation of mourners at funerals. There was also self-punishment, or institu-
tionalized suicide, in warfare among those who vowed to die rather than retreat.
The forms of self-punishment today are less stylized and harsh than in the old
culture, but the practice is still apparent. For example, when one woman heard of
the sudden death of her husband, she promised to give away all his household
furnishings, horses, and stacks of hay, and her male relatives tore up the husband's
garden and destroyed his irrigation darn. On the departure of draftees, mothers
attempted to throw themselves under the train. These reactions were in direct
response to emotional shock, but now the loss of members of the family group
also brings anew the realization of overwhelming personal and group insecurity.
A more common form of self-punishment is anxiety about one's health, wel-
fare, and relationships to other people. Anxiety about personal well-being is not
surprising among people who are not only impoverished but also dubious about
ever making a living from the resources they possess. Worry about where tomor-
row's meals are coming from, about getting money, about being held down, about
poor health, and about "what is going to happen" is constantly expressed in daily
conversations. This worry develops into a chronic state of apprehension.
The Dakota have found in escape another, but equally unsuccessful, release
from their situation and individual constraint. This behavior, too, has precedent
in all Dakota practices. A family ashamed of one of its members would leave for
another camp; a child ashamed or momentarily insecure in his family could enter
for a few days the tepee of a near-by relative, though such an act was damaging
to his parents' reputation. Nowadays escape from home, school, reservation, job,
and white community has become a common reaction to shame and frustration.
Today this running away no longer provides a satisfactory solution, for in each
new situation there is still insecurity. Frequent movement from place to place,
which has often been ascribed to the Dakota's nomadic background, functions as
an unrealistic effort to escape and reflects the great unrest of the people.
The physical and social environment, then, have brought excessive insecurity,
156 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
anxiety, and confusion to the Dakota since their segregation on the reservation.
In an attempt to find some individual security and safety from their apprehension
and relief from the problems confronting them, their typical reaction has been to
restrain and suppress themselves and to become highly dependent upon the gov-
ernment. Such an adjustment has brought neither personal satisfaction nor per-
sonal security. As a result, individuals have become highly aggressive under
increased strains, have run away from situation after situation, and have become
highly apprehensive about themselves. Frequently, in a sort of emotional ex-
haustion increased by physical weakening, they become completely apathetic. At
times individuals have worked hard to gain economic security, often to be de-
feated by drought or by the inconsistencies of administrative policy.
The younger adults have not experienced all the woes which have beset the
tribe, but they have sensed the despair and frustrations of their elders. They are
more willing to work for some security, but they have become anxious through
association with the more defeated and unrealistic older people. It is in this social
environment and among these attitudes that the present generation of children,
to whom we now turn, are growing up and being conditioned.
RED BIRD WOLF
Red Bird is an eight-year-old girl whose degree of Indian blood is reckoned in
thirty-seconds, a fractionation which signifies that her ancestors intermixed with
whites several generations ago. Since then there has been marriage into the full-
blood group. Red Bird now lives with her paternal grandmother and grandfather,
Amelia and Frank White Horse. Their home is in a full-blood community com-
posed of the grandfather's extended family group.
Frank White Horse, a man past sixty, is a leader and spokesman in his com-
munity. He has married several times, and occasionally his grown-up children by
former marriages come to live with him. One son, Charlie Wolf, is Red Bird's
Red Bird's grandmother, Amelia White Horse, has been married four times.
Three children are recorded from the first marriage, to a man who has since mar-
ried her sister. By her second husband she had four children and by her third
husband, two a girl of fourteen and a boy of ten, who are now living in the
White Horse household.
Mrs. White Horse is an affable and intelligent woman. She is now quite de-
voted to her husband but a few years ago had a serious quarrel with him. After
a heated argument, he left for a relative's home. She not only packed up and left
for another part of the reservation but also, with the help of her brothers, carried
off her husband's stove and all his furniture to furnish a new home of her own.
Despite such temporary disagreements and the history of shifting mates, the
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 157
White Horses are now a congenial couple. They maintain a stable home, running
cattle, milking cows, and together planting and plowing their cornfield by hand.
The new house is a three-room shingled structure, furnished with five beds, a
few chairs, a table, and a stove. In spite of the crowded quarters and the number
of children and visitors, Mrs. White Horse keeps it neat and well ordered.
The White Horses are among the group of older people who have settled down
and taken responsibility for their children and grandchildren. Mrs. White Horse
in particular is devoted to them and frequently travels by team in the summer
to visit older sons and daughters who are working outside the reservation.
Red Bird and her two little sisters have lived with her grandparents for over
three years. In fact, the younger sisters, who came to them as babies, only recently
learned that the White Horses are not their own parents. To Red Bird the grand-
parents are kindly and soirietimes overindulgent, allowing her to stay home from
school as she pleases and feeding her candy in the trader's store when she should
be in her classroom. When Red Bird is strongly disciplined by a teacher, her
grandmother will come to her defense regardless of her behavior. Mrs. White
Horse was particularly indignant when Red Bird was spanked by her primary
teacher, a type of discipline of which the grandparents do not approve. Red Bird
maintains a certain amount of control over her grandmother by threatening to
leave home and go to her mother if she cannot have her way. She is allowed
occasionally to visit her mother, who lives in the home of her parents in a distant
community; but visits are not encouraged, as the child usually returns sick and
infected with impetigo.
Red Bird's father, Charles Wolf, is divorced from her mother. He is employed
off the reservation by the government, and occasionally returns to visit his step-
mother and father. He is a good worker and earns high wages as a mechanic, but,
like many Indian men of his age group, has few qualms about dissipating his
money if his wife and family are not with him to keep him in control. Red Bird's
relations with him are not very deep, but she regards him as her father and some-
times threatens to go to live with him.
Of her mother's people the Howling Buffaloes Red Bird has a grandmother
and step-grandfather. Red Bird's own maternal grandfather, who died about
the time she was born, was much older than his wife, to whom he had been
married by arrangement with her father. This grandmother had four children,
and, when she was widowed, she married her present husband. The family lived
for many years off the reservation, the stepfather putting up hay or harvesting
potatoes for white farmers in the summer and doing odd jobs in Rapid City
during the winter.
Mrs. Howling Buffalo had two children by this marriage who died in infancy.
158 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Her four living children by the first marriage are Red Bird's mother, Cleo; a son
who is a well-known rodeo performer; and a son and daughter now in high
Red Bird's mother, Cleo, married about ten years after she left school. After her
expulsion from school she was put in jail for vagrancy on the streets of a near-by
city. She first lived with Charlie Wolf near his home, in a little house that his
mother gave them. She was always a shiftless housekeeper. Although her mother-
in-law disapproved of her habits, she left it to her son and his wife's mother to
reprimand the girl. After Red Bird was born, her parents lived in a tent while the
father was employed on C.C.C. projects. She was moved from place to place as the
work progressed and was sometimes left with her paternal grandmother, who
occasionally took her to kindergarten. In these camps, Red Bird's mother lay in
bed mornings, reading pulp magazines, while her husband got t up and made
breakfast for himself and Red Bird. Her care of the child was very poor indeed.
The baby was badly undernourished and nearly died of pneumonia at the age
Six months after Red Bird's youngest sister was born, their father obtained a
divorce and married again. Cleo wished to give him the children, but her mother
insisted that she keep them. However, the Howling Buffaloes soon went away,
leaving Cleo and her three babies to shift for themselves in the family home. It
thus became necessary for Cleo to take the children to their paternal grand-
mother, Mrs. White Horse, for adequate support.
Cleo then ran away with an Indian sailor. In the spring of 1943 she returned
home and had a baby in the following winter. Red Bird was well aware of the
expected new baby and visited with her mother for a few weeks during the
pregnancy. To her the" arrival of a new sister was an exciting and absorbing event.
Red Bird is a thin child with dark skin, flashing brown eyes, and a sullen
mouth. She is definitely underweight and appears to have been undernourished
most of her life. Her general health is poor. At times she appears listless and again
Toward her indulgent grandparents she shows no very deep affection. She
quarrels with her fourteen-year-old Aunt Mary and steals her rouge and lipstick.
Her ten-year-old Uncle John is rarely a companion of Red Bird or Mary in the
Red Bird's playmates at home are her three- and four-year-old sisters and her
eight-year-old aunt, the daughter of Mrs. White Horse's sister. This child lives
in a near-by community, where the White Horses live during the summer, and
she and her brothers are constantly at Red Bird's house for meals and play.
At school, Red Bird suffers from inability to make any satisfactory adjustment
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 159
either in her class work or with her teachers and classmates. She entered the
second grade with a conditional promotion. Red Bird is blocked and extremely
cautious in her approach to new work; but, once she grasps it, she shows some
capacity and alertness. Pressed to do well in spelling, for example, she will learn
her words and make a perfect score for a few days but then become careless and
relapse to a below-average score. She frequently runs away from school for the
afternoon. This may be partly due to her inability to master all her work, but
probably it is largely the result of her emotional instability. Criticism or imagined
failure usually makes her withdraw either mentally or physically from school
work, but at times she will become defiant, throwing her papers on the floor and
refusing to co-operate for the rest of the period. Like many Dakota children, Red
Bird takes more pleasure in drawing than in any other school work. She differs
from the other second-grade girls in showing little interest in the dolls and play-
house. In the first grade she played with them as often as it was permitted.
With her classmates Red Bird is passive and not very sociable. On arrival at
the school she frequently goes into the girls' washroom to remain until classes
begin. Red Bird will not play with the boys in her class and frequently slaps them
when she meets them in the halls. She likes to talk about boys to her teacher. Red
Bird admires older girls, particularly "the pretty ones," as she calls the girls with
neat appearance and attractive clothes who return from boarding school. Red
Bird apparently imitates them by trying to comb her hair in the latest boarding-
school style and by overuse of cosmetics. Her blatant rouge and lipstick, untidily
painted fingernails, oddly rolled and cut hair, and excess of pins and jewelry give
her, perhaps, a feeling that she looks grown up.
The teacher has had some trouble with Red Bird over stealing articles like
scissors from the school, so that she has had to be searched for some weeks to
break the habit.
Red Bird's major difficulties are immediately evident in her tests. Her Grace
Arthur Performance Test gives her an I.Q. of 86, but her Goodenough Drawing
Test gives her an I.Q. of 123. The great discrepancy in these two scores is a key to
h'er problem. As revealed in her spelling lessons, Red Bird is able to do good in-
jiellectual work, but she cannot function on a consistently adequate level because
she is greatly disturbed emotionally.
Her Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests show that she fails to respond
to her inner promptings and that she has little drive. To the outside world she is
passive, and, being strongly blocked, her relations with others are strained. Al-
though she is unstable and withdrawn from others, when they arouse or thwart
her, she is likely to respond in a defiant and rebellious way. Such behavior has
been exhibited both at 'home and at school. Red Bird has made and accepted few
160 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
social controls. This has so hampered her relationships with her age mates that
she has only one real school companion, a little girl who is as emotionally dis-
turbed as herself.
Red Bird's tests also indicate that there may be already some sexual disturbance.
Her practice of hanging around the girls' washroom before and during school
hours, her interest in older girls, and her attention to her appearance also suggest
a possible overdevelopment of sexual interest. This may be stimulated by associa-
tion with her mother.
In the light of Red Bird's family record and her own history, it is not surprising
to find that her psychological tests reveal her as a genuinely frightened little girl
with definite anxieties. She is handicapped by a poor physical condition and by
her inability to utilize her intelligence efficiently. Her short span of life has cer-
tainly been sufficiently varied and dramatic to create great emotional unbalance.
Red Bird has become very uncertain of herself from her family situation. Re-
jection by her mother has been a distinct shock. Although her mother has made
clothes for her, visited her in school, and taken her home for a week or two, this
brief indulgence without a continued affectionate relationship has been very un-
satisfying. Her father once offered her much support, but his departure from the
family scene and his responsibility for other little girls have created consternation
in Red Bird's mind. Toward her indulgent grandparents, she reveals no deep
affection. In one test, she stated that the happiest things she could remember were
"when Grandpa and Grandma died" and "when Uncle went to war." This untrue
statement about her grandparents shows not only the lack of any close bonds with
them but also probably wishful thinking stirred by resentment or anxiety. The
best thing that could happen to her, she says, is "go to heaven." 6 This remark
's unhappiness, if not a real wish to be dead. A child with her
attitudes and anxietyls indeed in"serious difficulty.
Red Bird's personality and history show dramatically how Dakota children are
being affected by their surroundings and how their development is being warped
by their present cultural disorganization. Her story has been presented at some
length to show the disorganization in her parents' and grandparents' lives and its
bearing on her development. The shifting of mates and moving of children from
home to home by her parents and grandparents are not unusual among their
Red Bird, who has average capacities, and probably had originally normal
freedom of action, apparently has had such painful experiences that she is now
Her whole attitude toward life seems to be one of
wariness and restraint. She is undoubtedly an extreme case, but she presents a pat-
tern of personality development that is characteristic df many children on the
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 161
W1NONA AND ROBERT RUNNING ELK
The Running Elks, a family of pure Indian descent, live in an attractive, painted
farmhouse surrounded by small trees and a low fence. The father built this house
through a rehabilitation loan from the government. Later he purchased land
adjacent to the house for a garden. The house is superior to most full-blood homes
on the reservation.
The father died several years ago when Winona and Robert were five and
three years old. For many years the father had been an employee of a neighboring
white storekeeper, driving the store truck and working in the white man's fields.
He spent most of his vacations visiting other reservations to see the Indian fairs
and celebrations, particularly the Sun Dances. Winona and Robert remember
their father clearly and look upon the summer trips taken with him and the rest
of the family as high points in their lives.
The mother remained a widow until recently. A neighboring widower moved
into the house to help her with the chores after her oldest boy went into the
Marines. After discussing the matter through the mails with her elder son, the
mother decided to marry this man. Whether the younger childen were also con-
sulted could not be learned, but doubtless there was some discussion of the event
beforehand. The children's relations with him were not reported.
There are now three boys and three girls in the family, all from the mother's
first marriage. The first two children born to the parents died. Richard, a crippled
son, lives at home. The oldest daughter, Elizabeth, also lives at home, helping with
the housework and younger children. She dropped out of school when she felt that
she was too old for her class and school work. The next sister, Jane, spent some
time in a tuberculosis sanatorium, where she became fluent in English and more
like white people in her behavior and attitudes than the rest of her family. She has
found much difficulty in adjusting to an Indian home and the sudden freedom
thrust upon her. She ran away once and was picked up by Rapid City police for
"This full-blood family is related to a line of able Indian leaders. With the
exception of the middle sister, Jane, the family appears very stable and cohesive,
affording security and affection to each member. Winona, aged ten, and Robert,
aged eight, are the youngest children. As the next oldest child is the sister who
has been in the sanatorium most of their lives, there has been an age gap between
Winona and Robert and their older brothers and sisters at home. The oldest
brother is very fond of the youngest children and wrote them constantly from
his Marine camp. He took Robert with him for a summer while he worked in
the beet fields before he went into military service.
162 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Winona and Robert attend a day school. Their mother forbids them to play
with the neighboring white children, and so, since they have no near-by Indian
neighbors, they play and ride together.
The mother reared her first children in typically indulgent Indian fashion;
but, beginning with Jane, she trained her last three babies by white methods
taught her by an aunt, a Chilocco graduate and a trained nurse. Winona's toilet
training began when she was only two months old. When she was five months'
old, her mother became ill and had to put Winona on a bottle, which was given
her according to a regular schedule prescribed by the mother's sister. At fifteen
months, Winona pulled the nipple off the bottle and began to drink out of it;
so her mother began feeding her by cup. This child training, revolutionary among
the full-blood Dakota, caused some stir among the older uneducated relatives.
The mother's brother would come to the house and watch the little baby and
then shake his finger at the mother and say, "This is no good; this is white man's
way." He was particularly shocked that the mother would let the child cry and
not feed her when she demanded it. The mother, however, did not carry her
white pattern of training to the extreme of early discipline in other forms of
behavior and has never spanked Winona. In later years the mother was fre-
quently ill, and much of Winona's and Robert's training fell upon older brothers
and sisters, who had been trained in the Indian fashion.
Winona is now a handsome and "typical" young Indian girl in appearance.
Her Indian features are accentuated by her big, soft, black eyes and her two long
braids of black hair. She has never been ill and now has the appearance of radiant
health. She has a great deal of poise and a ready smile but also the reserve char-
acteristic of well-bred Dakota. During this survey, she was usually seen alone,
walking to the store for some small purchase or playing about the house. At home
she shows the usual Indian child's interest in drawing. She keeps her papers,
crayons, and funny papers in paper sacks neatly tucked away in her bureau
drawer. Her mother remarked that she is neat about her property and her dress
and that she was very careful not to hurt the small trees planted around the
house. Winona, like her father, is a Catholic, and attends church fairly regularly.
The mother is an Episcopalian, as are Winona's younger and oldest brothers.
In her school work Winona does not show the accomplishments that she could
achieve. While eager and diligent in her studies, she shows no special interests.
She is slow in reading, possibly owing in part to the fact that the family speaks
Siouan at home, although they all can speak good English. Winona's behavior
with her classmates is a bit hostile or aggressive at times, possibly as a way of
gaining attention. She has been heard to call other children names, and she
causes trouble in other ways. She was once sent to Pine Ridge to the boarding
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 163
school but returned home after one night; her parents did not force her to return.
Recently she walked out of her present school when two boys tugged her braids.
Her mother returned her to class, demanding that the teacher punish the boys.
In general, Winona keeps to herself but would like more associations with chil-
dren of the same age and interests. Her teacher finds her agreeable to authority
and direction and willing to run errands and co-operate. She is quite self-sufficient
in managing her daily affairs.
Winona's test scoresan I.Q. of 141 by the Arthur test and 117 by the Good-
enough Drawing Test place her among the most intelligent of the tested group
of Dakota children. Although she has good drive toward intellectual achieve-
ment, her interests run to practical and commonplace matters, as her school work
shows. She is self-contained, but she places no undue restraint on her sense of
humor 7 or her ability to act with good understanding and to make decisions. She
is, however, outwardly cautious and formal, following the behavior of a well-
trained Dakota girl.
She keeps up her contacts with other people but feels little dependence upon
them. She also has a tendency to consider relationships and situations for her
own benefit. With most adults, and particularly her teachers, Winona is com-
pliant, but with her mother, Winona feels some resentment because she attempts
to control Winona's behavior more than she likes. The mother, as a woman fre-
quently ill and upset by the loss of two children and a husband, does not appear
to have given Winona the intimate associations that a child needs. The mother's
recent marriage and previous ambiguous relationships with a man who has sup-
planted her beloved father may also cause some of Winona's unfriendliness
toward her. The relationship with her mother appears to have directed Winona
toward becoming self-contained, and the restrictions which her mother placed
upon her have handicapped her in making wider social contacts and developing a
better basis for making friends. Otherwise, Winona is an extremely able and well-
adjusted young girl who is learning to live in her community without becoming
suppressed or losing the best personality qualities of her Indian heritage.
Robert, the youngest child, was born twelve days after the oldest girl in the
family died. His mother, ill in the hospital, was overcome with grief. The doctor
advised her to put Robert on a bottle immediately. He was allowed' to keep it for
eighteen months. In explaining this, the mother said, "I guess because he was the
last baby we thought he wals sort of sickly, so we treated him that way." As in
the case of Winona, his feeding was by schedule, and he was allowed to cry
rather than be fed at odd hours. His toilet training was also begun very early.
Robert's family life has given him much satisfaction and pleasure. He feels
important in it and enjoys good relationships with all its members. His mother
he accepts as the controlling person and from her receives much consideration
164 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
because of his supposed early frailty. However, he is not submissive in accepting
her authority. He has the same yearning for his father that Winona shows.
Robert appears now to be a quiet and self-contained boy, who tends to be re-
tiring. He plays with his sister but more frequently plays alone, preferring fishing
to competitive games. He has one occasional companion in a boy of his age who
rides some distance to Robert's home.
Although he might have attended kindergarten at the age of five, Robert did
not begin school until he was seven, because his mother believed that he was not
strong. He entered the day school in the spring of 1941 but did not attend regularly
then or during the next year. However, he was promoted along with his grade.
Robert shows superior intelligence an I.Q. of 128 in the Arthur and 144 in the
Goodenough test. His intelligence is evident in the manner in which he handles
situations that call for thought. He is practical and checks facts against statements,
but he is not very systematic in organizing his ideas. His teacher reports that he
is an "average" student who is interested but not steady in his work and is likely
to dream. His tests also show that his excellent intellectual abilities are handi-
capped by a habit of daydreaming and a lack of drive and persistence.
Robert has a mature inner life for a boy of his age and prefers his fantasies and
solitary life to sociability. The fantasies are used for release from a slight insecurity
which he feels with others. Usually he is restrained in the presence of others, but
at times he acts impulsively.
Robert is a very pious youngster and accepts a religious control of the world
that is not characteristic of many other full-blood Dakota children. He mentions
God several times in his tests as the authority and the rewarding and punishing
agent of people.
In his personality development Robert appears to be a boy who has been some-
what overprotected at home because, as a small child, he was thought to lack
robustness and vigor. This has retarded slightly the development of his social
techniques, so that he appears in his social behavior younger than he actually is.
However, with his intellectual endowments and continued associations with
many other children at school, he should develop rapidly. Like his family, he will
probably adapt to white life, but he will also be proud of and content in his
CHARLIE CHARGING BULL
Charlie is a fourteen-year-old full-blood boy 'with" a round and merry face, who
lives in a dilapidated log cabin on the outskirts of a small town. The family con-
sists of father, mother, and older brother and sister. About five years ago Charlie
lost a brother a year younger than himself.
The Charging Bulls came to their present home only a few years ago. Before
the drought of the 1930's they had a small but well-stocked farm; when crops
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 165
failed, the father abandoned it to work on reservation relief projects and then as
a farm laborer. Thus the family has moved about considerably. In none of the
places they have lived have they had close relatives or a neighborhood with which
they had blood ties. They now live among miscellaneous Indian families, who
remain in the community only as long as there is work or a need to send their
children to school. There are also a few resident traders, a hotelkeeper, and white
Charlie's father is a large, bowlegged man, who associates with very few people
in the community. He is usually quiet but is known to have an uncertain temper,
threatening to fight or kill when he is sharply crossed or when he thinks any one
of his family has been abused. The community fears what he may do. He appears
to be a companion to his two boys, frequently riding over the range with them.
However, reports of neighbors and the behavior of the children indicate that
he is domineering and scolding in the home. He has made his family, especially
Charlie, very much afraid of him. He teases Charlie and tells him stories that
Charlie's mother is a tall, thin, and seemingly carefree woman, who also teases
him. She does not directly threaten her children, although she occasionally makes
remarks to them such as "If you weren't my son, I'd pound you," or "You sure
make me mad." She is more amused than antagonized by Charlie and frequently
remarked to interviewers in describing his behavior, "He sure is funny" and
"That sure tickled me." She is similarly amused by her young daughter, who is
something of a tomboy and a rough playmate of her brothers. When Charlie was
little, the mother disciplined him with the traditional Sioux child-f righteners, but
this ended when one day he said about a spirit she described as living in the
creek, "Mommer, that's your imagination. You ain't got no sense." The mother
now attempts to discipline Charlie by keeping him out of school when teachers
complain of his behavior, but privately regards many of his pranks as great
jokes. Like her husband, she is not loath to rush to the defense of her children and
has, on a few occasions, threatened to fight other women. The mother says, how-
ever, that disciplining the boys is the father's business and that she has enough
to do to look after her daughter.
The father and mother corne from different communities;. neither has relatives
near the present home. The mother went to boarding school, where she had a
reputation as a trouble-maker and leader of gangs against unpopular individuals.
In her present community she has more friends than does her husband, but she
also is considered to be a very slovenly housewife by other Indian women.
Charlie, her second child, was a fat, dark baby. His umbilical cord was not tied
well by the midwife and bled for six days. His mother ascribes this as the cause
of his occasional fainting when he was a little boy. He remained fat but weak.
166 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
When his weight broke his baby "walker," his mother sat him up in a horse collar
on the floor. She kept his hair in long braids until he was six. He was weaned at
about thirteen months but was given oatmeal and gravy when he was nine
months old. At fourteen months he began to walk. He learned his toilet training
from watching others, but, until he had achieved this, he used the floor or went
out of doors.
Charlie had a speech difficulty during his infancy and early childhood, and he
refused to talk like other children until he was about eight years old. Until this
time he had a few words of his own making, by which he made known his
wants. When he started to talk, speaking only in English, he was already at-
tending play school. About this time his younger brother died. Charlie still
lisps a bit and stammers when he becomes overexcited. He usually speaks in
English now, even replying in this language when addressed in Siouan by his
bilingual parents. He skips many words and is said to do this also when speaking
Charlie now teases his mother in return for her jibes. He says the bacon looks
like bad potatoes and, if asked to do something, often says, "If you can't do it, I
think 111 just let it go." He does not have any such joking relations with his
father. His older brother, Jerry, is his usual companion outside school hours.
They support each other when others attack them, and Jerry boasted about
Charlie when he competed successfully against him; but they have had several
fights and are quite constantly arguing. Yet, when Jerry left for the Navy in 1943,
Charlie went along with him and tried to enter also. Charlie plays with his older
sister, Lucy, at home; but, as there is some difference in years in their ages, she is
not a real companion. Lucy shows a masculine identification by her behavior in
her rough-and-tumble family, and, when she speaks Siouan, she uses the mas-
culine endings, as if she were a boy.
At school, Charlie has the reputation of being "bright." He works rapidly but
not thoroughly. He was promoted twice in the past year, because he seemed so
far ahead of his class and also to keep him busy and thus prevent him from
annoying other students. He has been temporarily expelled several times for
causing trouble. Charlie has been very annoying to one teacher, whom he can
easily force to lose her temper. He picks on little boys and girls and has the
reputation of being bullying and mean. One teacher reported he had "a cruel
streak." Charlie is usually involved in any fighting or destruction of school prop-
erty. In spite of this, he gets along well with the one male teacher and works well
for him. He has few playmates outside his family and, when he does find one,
soon loses him because of fighting or hurting him.
Charlie has an I.Q. of 101 by the Arthur test and 121 by the Goodenough. He is
not the brilliant or exceptional student that his school record might imply. He
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 167
seems to show no real intellectual accomplishment but a quick and artificial dis-
play which impresses his teachers and wins their praise. He is unable to organize
his work well, and this may keep him from making a better record. He has
creativity and originality, but anxiety about himself and his relation to others
keeps him from giving any real expression to his inner life. He appears to use it
as a retreat and escape, daydreaming and building fantasies that have little
relation to reality.
Charlie's personality appears to be built around his fundamental insecurity and
anxiety. The quarreling, hitting, destructive behavior he exhibits is reaction to
aggression, or fear of aggression, from others. He is afraid to strike back at elders
and bigger children but picks on smaller ones. He throws rocks at the school and
destroys property to express his antagonisms. This reaction is impulsive and only
halfhearted; figuratively, he appears as if he were thrashing his arms about fiercely
and crying in fear at the same time. Fundamentally, he would like to be passive,
to be treated kindly and affectionately, but the world continues to prick him, and
he does not know what to do with himself or how to build up friendly relation-
His aggressions toward girls are partly based on his impulsively reactive
lashing-back at weaker individuals but seem also due to sexual anxiety. He is
uncertain of himself in this sphere and unable to be more direct.
Charlie appears to be a young adolescent unsure of his family ties and with no
loyal relatives to support him in the community. He tries to build up favor and
attention for himself by good performance in school work, but this is only a
show that does not win him the satisfaction or security he desires. He appears to
be anxious and floating in a social milieu that affords him no moorings.
MELVILLE LE GASSE
Melville Le Gasse is a boy of nine, whose black hair, brown eyes, and light-
brown skin mark him with stronger Indian characteristics than is expected of
persons of less than one-quarter Indian blood. He has the full physical develop-
ment expected of a boy his age. Until the fall of 1942, Melville and his family
were almost the only mixed-bloods in their full-blood community. They moved
here about five years before from a white farming district in a neighboring state,
leased several allotments of land, and borrowed money to start a cattle herd. In
their former home the family associated with whites and near-whites. Melville
had no playmates of his own age in the neighborhood; for one year he attended
a kindergarten in the near-by town.
His mother, a very light mixed-blood, grew up off the reservation. The fact
that her father was white and a wealthy farmer by local" standards gave her a
good social standing in the neighborhood. Since they lived in the country, her
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 169
parents had to send her to a nonreservation boarding school, but she resented
the association with an Indian group and the treatment she received from
teachers. Marrying a man of Indian blood and moving to the reservation to live
among Indians have been embittering social steps downward. She now keeps to
herself, devoting her attentions to her children and occasionally bringing some
relative, a light mixed-blood like herself, to visit in her home.
The father a dark mixed-blood with marked French features also grew up
off the reservation. He farmed rather unsuccessfully after he married and looked
for greater success when he moved onto his reservation land. He is an unstable
person and has not managed his cattle very efficiently, often leaving home to work
as an agricultural laborer. He sends back little or none of his earnings and returns
penniless. His long periods of idleness and roaming about with other Indians
have kept the family poverty-stricken and often without food in the house. In fact,
Melville frequently comes to school without breakfast. The habits and irrespon-
sibility of his father have led to family quarrels, to which Melville is usually
witness. His mother scolds and browbeats his father.
Melville has three older sisters, who attended a public school and then boarding
school, and a brother, Henry, aged sixteen, now away at a nonreservation board-
ing school. He also had a younger brother and sister, who died, but no informa-
tion was obtained about Melville's relationship with them. In 1942 one older
sister, Mildred, eloped with a young, full-blood man but was brought home by
her parents. She now lives at home, a close companion of her mother and a
second mother to Melville. She has bought him clothes and most of his Christmas
gifts out of her earnings from working in homes in the near-by village. Melville
appears to be fond of his older brother, Henry, and writes frequently to him in the
letter-writing periods at school.
In his early training, Melville's mother followed the practices of the near-white
group of mixed-bloods. She raised him on a bottle with canned milk. She also-
spanked him, as did his father, a means of discipline which they have decreased
but have not yet given up. Having no playmates near by in either his former or
his present home, Melville has played by himself around the house. Occasionally
he rides with his father to look after cattle and mend fences. His mother does not
encourage Melville to play with the full-blood children, saying that he does not.
understand them, and she has directed his social orientation so that already he
regards himself as white. This is her attitude toward her own social position. She
dislikes receiving services from the Indian Agency and having her sons in Indian
In his social relationships in the Indian day school in 1942, Melville sought his
teacher's protection and gave her his confidence, particularly about his home life
and the difficulties of his parents. Melville admired her and her home, which is
170 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
superior to any of the other homes he has visited. He played with the boys in his
class but had difficulty because he demanded to be the center of attention. Occa-
sionally he would pick a fight and then run to his teacher crying or complain
later to his mother that he was picked on. He was looked upon as something of a
sissy because of his slightly effeminate behavior. This quality was heightened
when he accepted the leading feminine part in a class play a role that no "good"
Sioux boy would consider. Occasionally he ran away from school for an afternoon
to play with an older boy and a distant relative. Melville showed good interest
in his studies, but his teacher felt he was capable of doing better work.
Melville scored an I.Q. of 104 on the Grace Arthur Performance Test and 111
on the Goodenough Drawing Test. His Rorschach and Thematic Apperception
tests reveal him as an immature boy with a great sense of insecurity, worried that
he may not retain his role of bal^ in the family and continue to be the subject of
constant and protective attention. His anxiety is great, and his confidence in his
parents or their affection is slight. This insecurity is reflected in a fantasy where
he suffers and dies to cause his parents worry. In one story he pictures himself
gone for days on his horse, while his parents search frantically. In another story
he is a rugged cowboy who is kicked in the head and finally dies, much to the
sorrow and anxiety of his father. Although the boy seems to enjoy the com-
pany of his father on the range, actually he makes no hero of him. His mother
seems to be a little closer because of the protection she affords him. His brother
and sisters, whose actual relationships to him seem to be affectionate and pro-
tective, do not appear so in the tests, indicating possibly that they are not the
source of support that one would expect. No reference is made to his dead
brother or sister, who may have supplanted Melville in the affection of his parents
and thus started his great feeling of insecurity. Although he appears desirous of
punishing his parents and himself in his dreams, there is no observed evidence
that he has been aggressive or harmful. He is more likely to run away from
school or feign sickness to stay home with his mother.
Melville's insecurity and anxiety appear to be derived from the precarious eco-
nomic and social status of his family. His mother is unsatisfied in her social am-
bitions and anxious over the family's economic position. She disparages his father
before Melville. She also indulges and overprotects her son and keeps him from
better social development by restricting his play with age mates. Melville, lacking
ties with parents or age mates, puts himself in a submissive position to gain their
Melville appears to be trying to solve his emotional problems by removing him-
self from them and consciously intellectualizing about his situation. At other
times he resorts to his imagination and achieves his ambitions in fantasy. When
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 171
he reacts overtly, he does so rather crudely and impulsively. Caught in a struggle
between impulses from within and sensitivity to his environment, Melville ranges
in his behavior from compliance to rebellion. His problem in his adjustment to
society lies in finding a balance between these forces.
Ginny is an eight-year-old girl with light-brown complexion, bright dark eyes,
and a round, cherubic face. Outside her Indian community she might be easily
taken for a little French girl, and not without reason, for she has more French
than Indian heritage, with only three-eighths Indian blood. Ginny is an energetic
and competent little girl, quite able to look out for herself and her brother Peter,
who is a year younger.
They are the youngest of a large family of children, half of whom have already
left home. Three older brothers and a married sister now still remain at home with
then- mother, Ginny, and Peter. Their home is a very small, boxlike frame house,
divided into kitchen and bedroom. They have a stove, a table, a few chairs, two
beds, and a dresser. As the home cannot accommodate all the family, the older
boys sleep either in a tent or in a neighbor's house.
This family has always been extremely poor and has received much help from
the government and relatives. The father comes home only on rare occasions,
and, although he has recently been well employed, gives very meager and ir-
regular assistance to his family.
The mother is not always able to work. She has just managed to keep her
family with the aid of relief and some private charity and by sending some chil-
dren to boarding school. Attempts by other people to help her have not always
been well received. She has become a very cranky and antagonistic woman, filled
with complaints against the school and government. In her behavior she shows
the resentment and hurt pride that often come from being an object of charity.
The mother has also been harassed by the behavior of her older children, who
have participated in promiscuity and petty crimes, for which they have been pun-
ished in court and severely criticized by neighbors.
At present only Ginny, Peter, and an older brother, Alexander, aged ten, attend
school. Alexander is a rather sullen and effeminate young boy who frequently
makes complaints about his teachers. This usually brings his mother to his defense
or wins him a temporary absence from school. He quarrels with Ginny and his
brother. Fighting among the children now at home appears to be a common
occurrence. Contrary to Sioux custom, the younger ones are punished by their
mother if they start trouble with the older ones.
Ginny was nursed until she was eight months old and then put on a bottle.
Her mother was very proud of her for being quick to acquire toilet training.
172 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
When she was about two, and again at four, she had pneumonia. At an early age
she learned to help with the housework, and by the time she was seven she was
able to get meals for a sickly neighbor who had been left home alone. Her mother
says that she has trained Ginny by talking to her, but she has also spanked her on
several occasions. This usually happens when Ginny runs away from home to
play at the store.
Ginny speaks with pride of her father and appears to be treated very kindly by
him when he returns home. She states that he has never spanked her. She does not
appear to be very intimate with Alexander but looks after Peter in a quite
maternal way. At school she is very careful that he does not forget his coat or
cap, and has fought with boys in his defense. She also looks after the baby
nephew who lives with his mother in the Reynard house.
At school, Ginny is popular with her classmates, according to her teacher. She
was enrolled at five in school and by this time greatly enjoys being in class. She
is now a leader in the group and takes responsibility in helping the other chil-
dren. She does good work, has a good imagination, and is rather mature for her
age. Both at home and at school she appears self-confident and very responsive to
Ginny 's tests show a well-organized, superior intelligence; she scored an I.Q.
of 119 on the Arthur test, although only 99 on the Goodenough. She has a wealth
of imagination, which she freely and fully reports. This quality is a great help to
her as a release and escape from strong^ depressive and aggressive feelings. These
feelings appear to be derived from a deep-rooted insecurity in her brothers and
sister and concern about her relation to her mother, who, she feels, has greater
affection for the other children. Their quarrelsome and antagonistic behavior
increases this uneasiness.
Ginny, however, has not become quarrelsome herself. She has diverted such
feelings and energy into a maternal and protecting behavior, which we have seen
directed toward her younger brother, nephew, and classmates. In this respect she
has become a well-socialized individual and, by protective relationship, has cov-
ered her real anxiety about her acceptance by others. Underlying this, however, is
a craving for affection.
, '^Ginny is mature in her development and has sufficient inner resources to aid in
the stability of her adjustment. She has a tendency to introversion. Her problem of
jealously of her brothers and sister and the repression of hostility felt against them
should not create any further social problem for her, because of the way in
which she has handled it. She tends, however, to organize things to an exceptional
^degree for an eight-year-old girl. She is overambitious and controlled beyond the
reach of the usual emotional ties to other people. In spite of the seeming excellence
of her adjustment, any overstrain or increase of tension at home might upset this
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 173
adjustment, causing her either to withdraw completely or to burst into hostile
and antisocial acts.
MICKEY LA FLESCHE
Mickey is nine years old, the youngest of the nine children of a white man and
a woman of three-eighths Indian blood. All the children have white skin and
features that reveal none of their Indian heritage.
Mickey belongs to the second set of children reared by his parents. They had
four children, and then five years elapsed before the five younger ones were born.
Two of these older children have gone to Omaha; one has married and now lives
on another part of the reservation; the fourth lives in the home. The family lives
in a well-built four-room cabin on the edge of a village. Mrs. La Flesche has sisters
also married to whites, who are living on a near-by allotment. These families
maintain close relations among themselves and have friendly, though not very
intimate, social ties with the general Indian group.
Mickey's father is described as an irritable, dominating man in his late sixties.
His bad management of a small area of poor land has kept the family poverty-
stricken. He has worked unsuccessfully for years, and, in an effort to maintain his
family, he has dissipated his children's resources by selling their allotments. His
social contacts on the reservation are limited, and his closest associates are his
brothers-in-law. The father's place in his family is not very strong. He is quite
demanding of them, and no one seems to feel closely attached to him. He works
daily in his fields with the oldest of his sons who lives at home. Mickey's associa-
tion with his father is apparently limited to mealtime.
On Mickey's mother falls most of the responsibility for the support of the fam-
ily. She is a busy, hard-working woman who spends much time working at a
store. She is too busy in her employment and household tasks to give any pro-
longed attention to Mickey or any other single member of her large family. Al-
though she is fond of all her children, her two eldest girls who have married more
successfully to whites are the center of her interest and conversation. Others of
her children and relatives are continually visiting in the household. At one time
there were eighteen living in and around the home.
The household is normally composed of the parents, Mickey, two older sisters,
two older brothers, and one younger brother. Important to Mickey are one older
sister, Louise, and his older brother nearest him in age. Louise was mainly re-
sponsible for Mickey's training and care, his mother being too involved with the
next baby and household duties to give him much attention after he was about
a year old. Since then, however, Louise's interests have turned to her youngest
brother. The break in this relationship has forced Mickey to seek companionship
with his twelve-year-old brother Ralph, but Ralph frequently fights with Mickey
174 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
over petty things and makes life miserable for him. Mickey brings few playmates
to his home but enjoys playing with his little brother.
Mickey does good work in school, fulfilling his assignments willingly and con-
scientiously, but he is anxious to complete them so that he may play or talk with
other children. He is very popular with his teacher and the boys and girls of his
age, although the more timid children and their parents complain that he is
quarrelsome. Mickey maintains a good disposition on the playground, and his
belligerent moods pass as quickly as a cloud blown across the face of the sun.
All the teachers of the school and the white people of the town are fond of him
for his cheery responsiveness.
Mickey took his tests eagerly and asked to repeat them. His intelligence tests
showed he has a superior mentality : I.Q. of 111, Arthur test, and 120, Goodenough.
He is capable of better school work than he demonstrates. His Thematic Apper-
ception Test shows that he enjoys greatly the numerous pleasant contacts with
other children. However, he is less interested in intensifying these relationships
than inUeveloping his inner life.
Some of his responses to the tests show that he has no real love or respect for
his father. Instead of the idealized picture that some young children paint of their
fathers, Mickey seems to view his father much as he has been described above
an aloof, irritable, unaffectionate old man. Mickey's feelings for his mother and
his family reflect the constant come-and-go of people. His concept of a family is
one of a friendly yet slightly unstable group of people, rather than a loving and
cohesive unit that would help to give him a firmer feeling of security. He feels
that his mother is a friendly, though not loving, authority from whom he can
obtain very little real affection. His relation to his brother Ralph is not so satis-
fying as Mickey would like, for Ralph is quite inconsistent in his behavior. He
appears to like Mickey, yet at times he becomes quite quarrelsome and domineer-
ing. It is possible, although the evidence is scanty, that some of this difficulty arises
from Ralph's jealousy over Mickey's greater popularity with all their relatives.
In his contacts outside the home Mickey is universally liked. Quick and anxious
to learn, vivacious and friendly with his classmates and teachers, Mickey is a
popular and accepted leader. His spontaneous and somewhat uncritical acceptance
of anyone who will be friendly keep him busy in all that goes on around him.
That he sometimes gets into fights is not surprising in a boy of his exuberance.
As was noted in his family relations, Mickey has no real emotional ties to his
age mates. Among his relatives and his friends there is no one person with whom
he feels genuinely secure and loved. This does not imply that he feels any rejection
by others or hostility toward them for he does not. He shows no anxiety, and it
may be that he is too much of an introvert to attract intense affection.
Mickey is a white boy in appearance, attitudes, and behavior. He already appears
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 175
to regard himself as different from, and even a little superior to, the Indians. This
orientation is not surprising when one looks at his family with their white father
and their white values and behavior. Their closest relationships in the community
are with families of similar composition and standards. Mickey's older brothers
and sisters have already moved out of the community, and his family has not made
a close integration with the more Indian households. It is probable that Mickey
will finish his high-school work and then follow his brother and sisters into the
white world outside the reservation. He seems sure to adjust satisfactorily to this
world, for his inner poise, his responsiveness, and his friendly, smiling appearance
make him particularly popular among his white friends and teachers.
In summary, Mickey is a lively and genial boy, happy and successful in his
personal contacts. He has excellent intellectual capacities and sufficient inner se-
curity to adjust quickly to a strange environment. The combination of his inner
resources and his social adjustment have given him a well-rounded personality.
He may, however, find trouble if at some time he feels the need for a deep emo-
tional tie to one person.
Priscilla is a thin, frail girl of eleven with a dark skin and a sober countenance.
She has nine-sixteenths Indian blood. Her birth was normal and her first year of
life a healthy one. About the time of her second birthday she began to have
convulsions, which appeared occasionally until she was seven. These "spells," as
the family called them, frightened and bewildered them. Noticing that when she
was made to cry she frequently went into a convulsive state, they treated her with
utmost caution and have continued to do so, even though this sickness seems
Priscilla lives with her father and mother and fourteen-year-old sister, Delia,
and sixteen-year-old brother, Don. She also has two older sisters who live and
work off the reservation. The family home is a log cabin about a half-mile from
the village. In their social position the Judsons belong with the mixed-blood and
white families of the village neighborhood, although their nearest neighbors are
full-bloods, with whom they are very friendly.
The Judsons follow an almost white pattern of life, but their relations to less-
assimilated Indians are strengthened by the fact that the father is three-quarters
Indian, descended from several generations of mixed-blood forebears. Through his
mixed-blood background and his education, Bill Judson has more training in and
acceptance of white ways than the majority of his blood group. Although he
speaks Siouan, he has not taught it to his children. He is a lean, tight-lipped man
who keeps very much to himself. He treats Priscilla kindly but distantly and has
176 XV ARMORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
never spanked her. The mother is the controlling person in the family, whom
Priscilla accepts as the real authority. She has only three-eighths Indian blood.
On the surface the family appears to be enjoying a pleasant and placid ex-
istence. The father and mother are, however, quite restraining and apprehensive
in the two youngest girls' outside activities. Priscilla's play has been hampered by
her sickness and the great apprehension that her parents have always felt about
her being away from the house and participating in vigorous activity. They have
forbidden her and her sister to ride for fear of being hurt or to swim for fear of
contagion from the water in the creek.
The set of this parental discipline appears to have come from Priscilla's
paternal grandmother. She assisted at Priscilla's birth and, until. she died three
years later, directed the care of the baby. She made a favored child of Priscilla
because she was the youngest and sickly. Although this grandmother was of only
about one-half Indian blood, she followed the Indian pattern in forbidding that
Priscilla be punished physically and in disciplining her by employing the tradi-
tional child-frighteners. From the grandmother, Priscilla's father and mother
learned to indulge their daughter for fear of harming her, but they also wish to
restrain her from moving away from their protection. This has been very
confusing to the child.
Priscilla has very little association with her brother Don, who rides every day
he can with full-blood friends and visits constantly in their homes. He leans to
more Indian behavior and attitudes than any member of the family.
Priscilla is on friendly terms with her older sister Delia, who has been her play-
mate, but the attachment does not seem to be deep. This is also true with her
age mates. Delia has been made to give way to her sister because of her frailness.
Although Delia is very considerate, she resents somewhat the demand that she
make sacrifices to Priscilla. The youngest of Priscilla's two adult sisters, Eliza-
beth, nine years her senior, helped to take care of her when she was a baby and is
now deeply interested in her development. To this sister j who now lives in another
town, Priscilla has formed a closer attachment than to anyone else in her family.
She respects Elizabeth's authority and yet competes with her in a joking way.
Elizabeth plans to have Priscilla live with her when she finishes grade school, so
that she can attend a city high school. Adjustment to the full-blood group is
difficult for Elizabeth, and she has refused work on the reservation because of the
problems of social obligations that it involves. Adjustment to the full-blood group
is becoming a problem to Priscilla also. Recently she inquired of her mother why
the Indian children at school called her "Wa&cu" -"white gjj"fR$<W
Priscilla is a very intelligent girl, and the limitations placed upon her by illness
have led her to develop intellectual, rather than athletic, pastimes. She is one of
the few children of her school who make reading their major recreation. Her
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 177
teacher reports that she is a thorough and ambitious student. She is, in fact,
moving through grade school faster than any of her classmates. She is looked
upon as a "smarty" by the other children, who regard such behavior as an attempt
to win the teacher's favor and to identify one's self with whites. This unpopularity
shows up in the school games, in which Priscilla is rarely chosen to play.
She does not play with boys. Although her boy cousins are constantly in her
home and she in theirs, she thinks that they are mean. She is seldom seen about
the village except in the company of her mother or sister and girl cousin for a
quick shopping tour. She is more likely to remain in the village home of a friend
of her mother's than to play or talk with the girls around the store and school.
Priscilla's tests show that she has a very superior intelligence (I.Q. 137 on the
Arthur test) and is generally quick in her mental approach, with an excellent
grasp of ideas and their interrelations. 8 She, no doubt, enjoys this intellectual
superiority, for she is making her best adjustment in her intellectual and imagi-
native We. Her efficiency is somewhat lowered by an overdeveloped habit of day-
dreaming. She is an impressionable and somewhat immature girl, sensitive to the
outer world. She withholds herself from social contacts, which suggests some
insecurity. At home this insecurity tends to become confusion over her relation-
ships with parents and adult brothers and sisters. She does not wish to abandon
the protection and petting that she is used to, yet she would like to assert her inde-
pendence and be more mature.
The poor relationships she is making with her age mates also hinder her social
maturity. She understands what these relationships should be and how to be
direct and definite without undue aggression; but, being unable to "give herself,"
she remains passive. The fact that she is a spoiled child who expects much and
gives little in return may also contribute to her superficial relationships with her
age group. She is meeting this problem, which causes her considerable anxiety,
by escaping into daydreams. This is a very inadequate adjustment, for in her
fantasy she tends to turn toward self-centered heroics or to infantile behavior.
Her problem appears to lie in her inability to find security with which she could
overcome flights into daydreaming and her wariness and timidity with others.
Andre is a handsome ten-year-old boy of three-eighths Indian blood who attends
the fourth grade of the local day school. He lives with his three sisters, his father,
and his mother in an outlying town of a predominantly white and mixed-blood
population. An older sister is a nurse in a hospital on another reservation. The
family have an attractive, small frame house. The parents are both employed,
attend church regularly with their children, and are looked upon as good citizens
in the community.
178 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
The father, whom Andre resembles, is a mixed-blood in appearance. He is
kindly and interested in his children. Although he occasionally takes authority
over them into his own hands, he usually leaves their discipline to his wife. His
children say that he has never spanked them.
The mother shows none of her Indian blood in her features. Her father is a
white man who lives in the same town. Her sister is also white in appearance and
has married a white man. Andre's mother is the dominating and forceful member
of the family. She is anxious to have her children become educated and get jobs
that will take them further into white society. She wishes to be considered white
herself and is a little disturbed by the fact that all her children are dark. She con-
forms to the behavior standards and ardently upholds the values of whites in
the lower salary brackets. Although she likes to have her children play with
whites, she also restrains them from associating with children of white parents
who are financially better off and stand higher in the local official and social
Andre's two older sisters go to the Indian boarding school, but their mother
plans to send them to a white high school and then to a hospital to train as
nurses like the oldest daughter. Andre seems to be on very pleasant terms with
these two sisters. The older looked after him and took him to school when he
Andre was weaned by his mother at the end of his first year. He had some
difficulty with his toilet training, and, as his mother reported, "It seemed as if he
were going to wet his pants until he was twenty-one. I was so disgusted I just
shook him." The mother looked upon her son with some curiosity and a little
apprehension, for she had had no brothers, and Andre was the first boy in her or
her sister's family. She expected that a boy would be "naturally mischievous and
misbehaved." When at the age of six he complained of feeling faint and having
pains, she put it down to a boyish prank. However, he became seriously ill and
had to remain out of school for a year. Later he was allowed to attend irregularly
but forbidden to play actively.
Andre's mother trains him by talking to him about his responsibilities and the
right and wrong things to do. As punishment, she takes away the privilege of
going to the movies or withholds his spending money. When he was a small
boy, she also spanked him.
Neither Andre nor his sisters cause their parents any serious discipline prob-
lems, although both of the parents are away from the home all day. The mother
does not, however, neglect the little attentions which make children happy. She
always has a cake and presents and occasionally a party for them on their birth-
Andre looks upon his mother as the boss of the family, even asking her per-
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 179
mission to go hunting with his father. This, he says, he learned from his good
friend, the minister, who is always preaching that women should care for and
run their families. Andre, who always attended church with his parents as a
little boy, now goes to Sunday school and in summer attends a Bible school.
Andre plays with both white and Indian boys in the community. Although
there is not much opportunity for it in his neighborhood, he likes to ride horses.
His teachers report him to be very popular among his classmates, although a year
ago he was rather sullen.
Andre does very good school work, except in arithmetic. He is not interested in
carpentry like his father but spends all his leisure time in drawing. His work
is good enough to warrant special instruction. He is not sure that he wants to be
an artist and has expressed a desire to become a doctor. His mother discourages
this ambition, saying that it is too costly for the parents and implying that it is
too much above the family status.
Andre's intelligence tests gives him an average score: 96 by the Arthur and 113
by the Goodenough. However, his projective tests suggest that his intelligence is
better than average, that he has excellent intellectual concepts which he arrives
at by seeing the obvious and commonplace and enlarging upon these with a good
use of his imagination. He has a power of creativity and a freedom and rhythm
which are excellent bases for his artistic interests. His system of control is a some-
what refined intellectual one, with minimum use of either emotional or inner
integrative functions. There is not the suppression, however, that characterizes
Priscilla and a large proportion of Dakota children.
In his behavioral approach, Andre is realistic and able to get along fairly well
with both age mates and adults. He does show a little insecurity, which appears
to stem partly from his earlier separation from other children, necessitated by
sickness, and partly from the predominance of women around him. But this
insecurity has not affected his adjustment deeply. Ajidre has made a good adjust-
ment to his father and mother. He respects his mother as a competent woman and
admires his father.
In spite of the insecurity which limits his relations to the outside world, his
expression of spontaneity, and the best use of his intellect, Andre has a well-
developed personality and an imagination and balance exceptional among Dako-
ta children. He is both pleasing and interesting to others. He has a good grasp of
reality. He has no real problems of adjustment other than the slight feeling of
helplessness derived from his period of sickness.
Carmelita is a sixteen-year-old girl of three-eighths Sioux blood. She also has
French and a little Canadian Indian blood from her father, Although her com-
plexion is dark, she looks more French than Indian.
180 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Until Carmelita attended boarding school, she lived at home and went to a day
school in the rural area o trie reservation. Her family live in a community of
mixed-blood families, who are closely interrelated. They are successful cattle
operators, running their herds individually. In social matters, however, they are
a very co-operative and closely knit social group. Carmelita's father has an allot-
ment in this community. He was very prosperous during World War I but shortly
afterward lost all his holdings through a sudden misfortune and became im-
poverished. The family were forced to move to another community where the
father could get a small job. They struggled for many years and have finally
built up a good home and cattle herd in the community where they now live.
The father, troubled by extremely poor eyesight, is helped in his work by a son
about twenty years old. The mother, an energetic and very able woman, runs the
family. She is one of the most capable housewives in her district and is active in
the women's club and community social affairs. Jeanne, her oldest daughter, who
lives with her husband, of one-thirty-second Indian blood, on a near-by ranch, is
also an energetic and capable woman. When Carmelita was a little girl Jeanne
took care of her. Carmelita also has three brothers who have left the reservation to
complete their education and obtain employment. Altogether, the family presents
a picture of a stable and industrious group, working hard for what it has in
material wealth, and ambitious for the young people to move ahead and succeed,
whether off the reservation or at home. They are strong Catholics through fore-
bears on both sides of the family and attend the little chapel in their community.
Their behavior, morality, and general outlook are those of the more stable whites
who farm and run cattle on the reservation. However, the family, as mixed-
bloods and of French-Canadian origin, do not feel closely allied with the white
residents. When they associate outside their relationship group, it is as leaders
among the Indians and to some extent with the school employees.
Carmelita was liorn about the time of her father's loss of his cattle herd and
land. Her mother almost died in childbirth. However, she was soon able to nurse
her baby. The child weighed only four and one-half pounds at birth and remained
weak during all her childhood. She was undernourished and developed jaundice
and rickets which left her frail. The parents were in such straits that they could
not provide sufficient food for any of the children. One boy developed tuberculosis.
Carmelita showed a positive reaction to tuberculosis but recovered at home. The
two oldest children had to leave school to help their father work the garden and
cut fence posts for sale. During this period, Carmelita could not attend school
regularly and afterward was forced to remain out 'for a year.
She has worked hard in school, and, although she receives only passing marks,
she is well liked by her teachers for her energy. She is co-operative and interested
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 181
in learning so that she may later go on to college and study to be a home economics
teacher. At school she has captained teams, and in the student council she has
become a leader. In her general relations with her age mates, Carmelita appears
as manager of their activities but remains popular with them all, whether Indian
or white. She states that she likes both Indians and whites but feels that the
latter treat her better. Alhough she is sixteen, she was not observed to have a boy
friend at school.
On the Arthur test, Carmelita received a rating of low average. She apparently
recognizes her limitations in this direction and covers up her confusion when
confronted by problems she cannot handle by avoiding specific replies or de-
cisions. Her creativity and imagination are in keeping with her mental endow-
ments. She does not give evidence of much fantasy life, nor does she attempt to
escape from situations by daydreaming. She accepts the impulses from her inner
life but places a strong conscious control on them in adjusting to the world around
her. She is sensitive to the reactions of others toward her, but she does not feel
much emotional drive toward relationships with them. It may be that the long
period of sickness and deprivation in her early childhood gave her the feeling
that the outer world is unreliable and untrustworthy, which adds to the insecurity
which she feels from her limited intellectual capacity.
This construction of her personality does not seem at first glance to be in
keeping with her observed behavior at home and at school. When her activities
are examined closely, however, it can be seen that she is really behaving in accord-
ance with her sense of insecurity and her limitations. Aware that she is handi-
capped in academic work, she puts all her energies into social activities. For
this she has learned a routine of behavior, after the pattern of her mother, which
gives the appearance of spontaneity and leadership and which wins her praise
from family and teachers without straining her beyond her capacities. She man-
ages her schoolmates as the deputy of the teacher and thus has a role of some
importance among them which does not require originality on her part and affords
a sort of friendly but impersonal relationship with them that satisfies her needs.
This type of behavior in a Sioux, and especially a Sioux girl, is unusual enough
to merit attention and praise from the teachers, which would compensate to a
large extent for her lack of skill in intellectual realms.
Rather than being a genuine leader, she is a conformer, but it so happens that
the pattern to which she conforms is one of leadership as seen in her family. She
is still very dependent upon the protection of her mother, and to maintain it she
adheres to her mother's conventional standards as well as her pattern of managing
those about her. Such behavior on the part of a girl does not sit well with the
boys, and her relationships with them may in time cause her difficulty.
182 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
In summary, it appears that Carmelita has found a way of getting along in the
world that is acceptable to the society in which she is likely to remain. It em-
phasizes her assets and minimizes her liabilities, and it will continue to afford
her a considerable measure of satisfaction and security unless she is pushed beyond
the limits of her emotional and intellectual capacities.
The reader has now made some acquaintance with ten Dakota children. They
were selected not to portray either typical examples of extremes of range of
Dakota children's personality types but only to present random cases from each
of the age, blood, and community groups of the 166 children studied. It will be
noted that the intelligence quotients range from superior to low average, per-
sonality development runs from stable to unbalanced, and social adjustments
appear satisfactory for some full-bloods and near-whites like the Running Elks
and Dubois children but poor for most of the others. Andre shows that children
in families accepting the ways and objectives of white life can develop healthy
personalities. Mickey, although in a less congenial white-patterned family, is also
developing satisfactorily. Carmelita has gone through many of the more dramatic
experiences that are shaping the personalities of Pine Ridge children, but her case
demonstrates that biological factors can have the determining influence in per-
sonality development. Winona and Robert, although restrained, are Sioux chil-
dren who have developed without undue feelings of insecurity.
Red Bird, Charlie, Melville, Priscilla, and Ginny, however, are children who
feel that they must move with uncertainty and restraint both within and outside
their family life. These five children reveal elements in their personality develop-
ment which are characteristic of many of their generation. They have to one
degree or another a sensitivity to disturbances with which they feel powerless to
cope. They appear overserious. The bright spontaneity ancl energy usually
associated with children are missing. They have experienced serious sicknesses or
known them in their families. Death of a brother or sister is not infrequent. They
have felt poverty and the anxiety of having no food in the house and no prospect
of obtaining any. Most of their homes are crowded. These things have brought
Most of the parents treat their children with much consideration and kindness.
Except for the Duboises, who practice definite discipline of their children, parents
tolerate more freedom of action and respond to more demands of their children
than most whites allow. In spite of this broad tolerance received from their par-
ents, the children do not appear to have close rapport or full faith in them. There
is doubt and bewilderment. Many of the fathers and mothers appear too uneasy
and harried to give their children real affection.
TEN DAKOTA CHILDREN 183
These characteristics of their lives and personalities will serve for the reader
as clues and personal illustrations of the qualities of the group personality of
Sioux chidren which is described in the next two chapters.
1. It must be pointed out that undernutrition is probably contributing to this apathy. There is
evidence of undernutrition among the children tested, and it can fairly be assumed that it exists
among persons of all ages. The very low family income and the small amount of food produced at
home for the last twenty years support this assumption. See chaps, xiii and xv for further discussion
of this point.
2. For definition of "aggression" as used in this study see Appendix II.
3. See chap. viii.
4. As noted in Appendix II, this is a form of aggression. Because the purposes of the aggression
shown by Dakota in the old society differ from those of the aggression they show today, the term
is qualified when used in this monograph. The form approved by the old culture is termed "self-
assertion" or "striving aggression"; the destructive behavior of today is called "hostility" or "hostile
5. Erik Homburger Erikson, "Observations on Sioux Education," Journal of Psychology, YE
6. This is not a unique response among the sample group of Dakota children.
7. Winona was the only one of these ten children to laugh at things she saw in the Rorschach
8. Priscilla did not take the Goodenough Test.
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR
HAVING glimpsed briefly the personalities of ten Pine Ridge children, we
turn now to the personality structure of Dakota children as a group, as
shown by the results o the various tests and examinations given to the
sample of 166. In the present chapter we seek to give the general personality
characteristics of the group, as revealed by intelligence tests and physical exam-
inations, together with what can be learned of their emotional life and moral code
in the Emotional Response and Moral Ideology tests. 1 The following chapter
shows something of what lies beneath the surface of overt behavior, as disclosed
by the projective tests.
It should be noted that the material from these tests gives us a picture of the
personality configuration of a group of Dakota children. It is not the personality
of one child or the personalities of a majority of the children. It could not be said
to exist in all its elements in any one child, let alone in a majority. The "Dakota
personality," as the term is employed here, means the type which evolves from
the sum total of the characteristic responses of our test material.
What is meant by personality, and how does it develop ?
Personality, as conceived in this study, devclops^from the im pulses,. dsJYeSa and
motives of the individual; the expression which the individual gives to these
impuls57an3lhe control and restraint which he exercises over them; the controls
imposed by his culture and the channels it offers to the individual drives; and the
opportunities, impacts, and conflicts which the environment sets up. In other
words, there are forces within and forces outside the individual which are acting
upon him. The way in which he integrates and expresses these forces and resolves
conflicts between them, and the way in which the conflicts become ramified into
forms of behavior, produce the various qualities and habits which together make
up his personality.
In every individual's personality are factors arising from biological endow-
ment, from cultural conditioning in education, and from individual psychological
variations. It is now generally believed that the Indian child is not fundamentally
different in his biological makeup from any other child. Owing to his particular
biological inheritance and suEsequent physiological history, each child, be he
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 185
Indian, Mexican, Negro, or white American, does vary from every other child
in his particular biological organization; but these are normal variations and not
differences due to racial inequality or deficiency.
Every child goes through the same developmental stages of babyhood, child-
hood, and adolescence before reaching adulthood. At each stage of his develop-
ment, the child has basic needs and goals, such as learning to walk and talk or
expressing his sexual drive, which appear at different stages of physical matura-
tion. These needs and goals and developmental stages are biologically determined,
but each culture makes different uses oLthem or imposes different types of
training at different times. For this reason we may find Indian children doing
different things or behaving differently from children of the same age in other
Each cultural organization sets up demands and goals which the child must
meet if he is to be an acceptable member. The culture may demand that he go to
school, be educated in certain concepts and skills, and later become a laborer, a
hunter, a priest, etc., and that he do these things at- certain times. Each culture
offers opportunities for human expression and satisfaction through socially
defined routes and procedures. Each culture, through its organization, cares for
and trains the young members of the group in its own techniques for obtaining
food and clothing, marrying, burying the dead, co-operating in groups, and
worshiping or calling upon the aid of the supernatural. These are needs which
individuals either have as human beings or learn because of the culture in which
Culture, through its social processes, suppresses some types of behavior and
some impulses and permits the full expression of others. In this way, individuals
are trained to carry out the objectives of the culture. For example, little Dakota
boys were encouraged to express their self-assertion or aggressive tendencies in
order that they might develop and exercise the attitudes needed for hunting and
fighting. For the most part, in white American culture this plundering type of
aggression is suppressed, but aggressive impulses are allowed expression through
accepted forms of competing in games or accumulating and displaying posses-
When a culture no longer provides the necessary outlets and satisfactions for
human needs, and new conditions arising from its disorganization interfere with
the achievement of previously established and still desired goals, the individual
members react in many ways which we term "maladjustment." They may fight
for old goals or satisfactions; they may acquiesce, withdraw, or run away from
the new situation. On the other hand, they may make new adjustments by re-
1 directing their energies to new goals. These adjustments are compensations which
permit the individual to continue as a well-organized personality.
186 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
The specific reaction which each individual makes to his culture, or to the dis-
organization of his culture, differs. Again the individual inheritance factors in
his makeup account for some of his behavioral characteristics. The conditions of
his home, the status of his family, the organization of his community, and the
physical resources by which it lives are also contributory factors to individual
But the psychological basis on which any one individual reacts to external
conditions is the same as for every other individual. In other words, all individ-
uals operate on the same psychological principles and have the same physiological
and biological mechanisms for experiencing anxieties, fear, love, and other emo-
tions. However, the kinds of emotional reaction and behavior which each in-
dividual exhibits differ with different constitutional factors or sets of social or
cultural stimuli or conditions. The fact that all individuals function psycholog-
ically according to the same principles is one of the most important premises to
remember about other racial and cultural groups.
This means that persons coming to Pine Ridge from another culture will find
Dakota children behaving differently from the other children they have known
because of traditional Dakota training and because of the effects of cultural
change. But the psychological processes by which Dakota children have developed
their behavior are the same as those of other children.
The type of behavior now exhibited by the majority of Pine Ridge children
must be regarded primarily as the result of psychological-reactions, to disorganized
cultural conditions. The behavior is only symptomatic and not the basic problem.
Not all aspects of personality and their interrelations have been studied or be-
come thoroughly understood by students of personality. For example, the exact
nature and sources of drives, sometimes called "impulses" or "instincts," are not
known, but the behavior based upon them can be observed. It is not completely
known whether some personality traits have an inherited biological or physiolog-
ical basis or are acquired through experience.
In this study no bold attempt to describe exhaustively the total personality or its
structure is contemplated. This study attempts only to discover the major aspects
of personality by means of tests and observations, in the same way as the medical
student starts to study the human body and its functions. The essential aspects
of personality studied here include: intelligence, imaginative faculties, inner ad-
justment of drives, controls, basic emotional attitudes, emotional reaction to sur-
roundings, adequacy of sexual adjustment, and the approach and relationship to
families and the social world.
INTELLIGENCE OF DAKOTA CHILDREN
Two tests were used to determine the intelligence of 166 Dakota children: the
Grace Arthur Point Performance Scale and the Goodenough Draw-a-Man Test.
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 187
In the Arthur test, on which the average I.Q. for white children is 100, the children
of Pine Ridge town aged six to fifteen had an average I.Q. of 102.6, and the Kyle
children of the same ages had an average I.Q. of 101.1. In the Goodenough Draw-
a-Man Test the average I.Q.'s were 102 for Pine Ridge and 113.6 for Kyle. 2 Each
group displayed the expected range from subnormal to superior intelligence.
These tests are designed to score intelligence through manual performance
rather than through skill in writing English and using arithmetic and other school
subjects. A test where responses must be made in English would be a marked
handicap to children with as little English as some of the younger Dakota. That
the inadequacy of their knowledge and use of English is indeed a handicap in
tests, even among older children, is shown by the scores of the Oglala Community
High School students in the Kuhlmann-Anderson Test, parts of which are writ-
ten. In this test, 30 of the 166 children made an average score of 82.3, as compared
with their score of 102.8 on the Arthur test.
Several points of interest may be noted from variations within the Pine Ridge
and Kyle groups and differences between the two groups. In the Arthur test there
were no significant differences between boys and girls or between the community
groups. On the Goodenough test, however, the boys in both groups scored signif-
icantly higher than the girls. In contrast, the girls in a group of white school
children in a midwestern town scored higher than the boys. 3 It is also not without
interest that the Kyle children, who are farther removed from white contacts,
had considerably higher scores than the Pine Ridge children at the Agency town.
From time to time various persons have doubted the intellectual abilities of
Indians and have ascribed to mental deficiency the difficulties which many Indian
children experience in school. The I.Q.'s scored by all Indians- in tests given as
part of the Indian Education Research Project prove that this is far from the
truth. Hopi children, for instance, had a remarkably higher average score than
the white children on whom the tests were standardized. 4 The Dakota children
scored above average, one community group significantly above average in one
test. Indeed, nine of eleven groups of Indian children tested in six tribes had
average I.Q.'s either above the white average or so little below it as to have no
statistical significance. 5
HEALTH AND PERSONALITY 6
Nearly all the 166 Dakota children tested were examined by physicians to deter-
mine the state of their health. Only one in five was rated as having generally
good health, and 40 per cent were classified as being undernourished, as deter-
mined by comparing each child's height and weight with the average for his
tribal age group. Vitamin deficiency was not noted specifically, but swollen gums,
flaring ribs, and enlarged sore tongues probably represent this lack. Evidence of
tuberculosis, so often found in poorly nourished children, was noted in about 15
188 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
per cent of the Dakota children, but X-ray showed that calcification had devel-
oped in most of the cases. Active tuberculosis was very rare. The incidence of the
disease varied greatly between communities, but no conclusions regarding its
prevalence can be drawn, as X-rays were not taken of all children. About half the
children had decayed teeth, and the same proportion had enlarged tonsils. There
was no very significant difference between the health of boys and of girls. More
girls than boys were classified as having good health, but more of the girls were
thought to be undernourished. The health of the older children was better than
that of the very young ones. In general, it might be judged that. the health status
of Dakota children is similar to that of underprivileged whites in rural areas, but
no data are available for more exact comparison.
Probably the most significant data from these examinations are those relating
to undernutrition, four out of every ten children appearing to be undernourished. 7
It is regrettable that circumstances did not allow the undertaking of a diet study
among the Dakota similar to those previously made among the Hopi and the
Papago. 8 Such information as was gathered on Pine Ridge shows that average
meals of the children are insufficient in caloric and vitamin content. The home
breakfast menus for several days reported by a grade-school class in home eco-
nomics show that no child had milk or fruit and only one had an egg. The typical
breakfast included cake purchased at the trader's, fried bread or potatoes or pan-
cakes and syrup, and coffee. A few children had no breakfast before coming to
school. During the winter season children have very few green vegetables at
home. Families who received rations (and formerly surplus commodities) were
given an assortment of food inadequate in vitamins. 9
It was impossible to compare the day-school children, who eat one meal five
days a week at school, with the boarding-school children, who eat at school about
nine months of the year, because individuals shift from one status to another so
frequently. Boarding-school teachers report, however, that their students lose so
much weight during the summer vacation that they do not recover it at school
until about Christmas,
The general poor health and undernutrition among the children may affect
their personalities, chronic hunger being reflected in temper and behavior. It is,
therefore, ffdT^tirprTsing to find apathy and some irritability among the Pine
Ridge children, as is common among underfed white school children. These
characteristics among the Dakota children are not, however, solely attributable to
GENERAL PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR, EMOTIONS, AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS
Passing from the child's intelligence and the factors in his health which may
influence intelligence and action, we now seek to determine how children behave
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 189
toward others and how they feel about their behavior. The Emotional Response
and Moral Ideology tests present material from which characteristics of the be-
havior of the children can be ascertained, the emotions surrounding it, and the
kinds of relations the child has with the world about him.
In the Emotional Response Test, children are asked to recall occasions when
they felt happy, sad, afraid, angry, or ashamed and to say what are the best and
worst things that could happen to them. They also tell voluntarily how they
behaved on these occasions, and what persons were concerned.
This test employs -direct questioning, but the material utilized is offered volun-
tarily. The child selects actual experiences on those occasions which he recalls
because of their emotional impress. Hence, this material presents private experi-
ences not usually obtainable through interviewing methods. For example, a boy
states that he was angry when his little sister threw his marbles into the stove.
The boy's account of this incident and his reaction to it indicate one type of rela-
tionship between brothers and sisters. From the total responses of the boys con-
cerning their relations with their sisters, we have evidence concerning the kinds
of behavior between brothers and sisters from the boys' point pf view. Similarly,
the total responses of the girls concerning brother relationships present data on
the brother-sister relationships from the girls' point of view. Organizing this
material on the basis of action and response, we can obtain evidence that sub-
stantiates and adds to observations of the children's overt behavior.
The Moral Ideology Test seeks to elicit information on what the child thinks
are "good things" and "bad things" to do. He is also asked what persons will
praise or blame him for doing these good or bad things. The results of this test
show an "official" ideology, or what the child has been taught to believe is right
and wrong and what the child believes the group thinks. However, in analyzing
this material, we find that the child usually recalls some personal experience or
behavior about which he feels he acted in an approved or disapproved way. For
example, the frequent mention of stealing as a bad thing to do indicates that
stealing is probably either one of the worst or one of the most common "sins"
among the contemporary Dakota. However, it is not considered equally bad by
boys and girls or by different age groups. We can infer from this that some chil-
dren steal and are punished for it; it therefore is a matter of great concern to
them. Other children have less association or concern with it. Thus, by analyzing
the behavior reported in the "good and bad things to do" which the children
mention, we obtain additional data for our description of the interaction that
takes place between the children and others in their society.
When the Emotional Response data are classified into responses about happi-
ness, sadness, etc., a general pattern of children's emotions appears. First, the
children are concerned about the behavior of others toward them; and, second,
190 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
they are very anxious about themselves. The data can then be reclassified on the
basis of action initiated by ^others^'action initiated by self, and no personal inter-
action, 10 to ascertain the direction and nature of behavior, with whom the activity
. is carried on, whether it is on a friendly or hostile basis, and how the children
feel about it. The Moral Ideology Test responses can be classified on the basis of
the children's concepts of good and bad behavior and on the basis of individuals
or groups who praised or blamed them in such behavior. This test, too, shows
kinds of behavior and how the children feel about them in terms of approval and
disapproval or satisfaction and anxiety. The data from both tests have been
combined to present the behavior of the children in their social groups, the rela-
tionships with parents, brothers and sisters, and age groups, and the emotional
reaction which the children have in these relationships.
The largest number of responses from the Emotional Response and Moral
Ideology tests suggest that the predominant behavior and emotions of the children
are reactions to a world that seems to them hostile a world that is threatening
and bearing down upon them, causing them great concern about themselves, and
restraining them in their interests and associations with other people. In the social
relationships of the children, most action is, or seems to them to be, initiated by
others. People are openly aggressive or unfriendly or threaten to become so. The
children report many experiences of physical aggression, such as fights, "ganging
up," and having toys and property destroyed. They feel that people are also
constantly being inconsiderate of them. Disappointments and unfulfilled prom-
ises are evident. Restrictions, discipline, and punishment also contribute to the
children's feelings that other people suppress or threaten them, but the disci-
plining restraints are only minor compared with the thoughtless inconsiderate-
ness and antagonisms. Restraint and discipline are part of the process of growing
up and learning to adjust to society. However, it is not formal discipline by parents
and teachers that really concerns the Dakota child. His sadness, fear, anger, and
shame come more from acts of aggression and failures to be kind on the part of
People are not the only menacing beings in the children's world. Animals-,
which are so abundant in their environment, are also frightening and hostile. It is
not surprising that, in a country of rattlesnakes, untrained and abused dogs, and
occasionally vicious bulls, the children should experience terrifying encounters.
It is surprising, however, to find that horses, which give them so much pleasure
and are so much a part of their daily life, also cause Dakota children much fear
and anger. Danger from actual experiences with animals and general anxiety
about them stimulated half the fear responses of the boys and girls, and the per-
versity and uncontrollable behavior of animals were the source of the majority of
anger responses of the boys. The rough treatment which is meted out to animals
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 191
doubtless accounts for much of their unmanageability. This treatment may also
be an expression of anger and hostility which the Dakota feel against other peo-
ple but are afraid to show openly.
_ For a group of children removed by only a few generations from a complete
acceptance of primitive beliefs about the supernatural, it is surprising to find that
almost none of the dangers of this traditional supernatural world now appear to
alarm them. The fear of the tchi-tchi man and other child-frighteners is overcome
as the children grow older, just as the belief in Santa Glaus is outgrown by
white children. Only a few children mention the traditional child-frighteners and
the owl, an omen of death. Ghosts and such other supernatural figures as now
appear to menace them have been taken over from white culture through white
playmates and through stories and Halloween parties at school The more com-
mon frightening associations with the supernatural are seeing dead relatives or
ghosts and skeletons. Night itself is frightening, but this may be interpreted also as
fear of meeting ghosts or alarming objects and fear of being alone. *
It should be noted that, although the people and things about them appear
predominantly hostile to Dakota children, there are also pleasant and satisfying
relationships originated by others. The visits by relatives for family gatherings,
the departure and return of family members, and the gifts from brothers and
sisters and elder relatives very definitely bring pleasure and enjoyment to the
children. The responses concerning these experiences of^ positive relationships
reveal, however, that they occur almost exclusively between relatives. It is society
beyond the family or circle of relatives that children feel to be hostile; it seems to
dominate their emotional reactions.
The second largest category of responses from these tests reveals the children
to be concerned with self-interest in. pleasures j^c anxiety about their own well-
being. Little or no direct action with other people is stated or is even inferred. The
primary responses of interest are in good times, such as going to the movies, to
fairs, and to rodeos. In these activities the children can be with many people and
identify themselves with the group in watching some entertainment but avoid
intimate personal contacts. The children also enjoy parties like those at Christmas
or on birthdays, when they receive gifts. The tests show that the gifts are more
important to them than actual participation in such festivities or even being the
center of attention. In studying responses by age groups, it appears that it is
almost exclusively the youngest children who enjoy the personal relationships at
Games are another source of pleasure. This might seem to imply a great deal of
interaction with playmates. However, the kinds of play which the children name
riding horseback, throwing a rope, trying to catch horses and cattle, and playing
with dolls indicate a considerable amount of solitary play or play with others
192 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
in which interest is not centered on co-operation or competition or acting upon
one another but on some nonhuman object. For this reason play has been classi-
fied with the responses of "no personal interaction." This classification must be
qualified strongly, since basketball, baseball, and the group games taught in
primary school are also mentioned by the children. It must be remembered, how-
ever, that this competitive play is taught by the school and is only occasional in
the informal play in the home communities.
The children's concern about their personal welfare may be termed negative
and undesirable from the point of view of good mental hygiene and of society.
Concern over themselves takes the form primarily of anxiety over being sick,
injured, or in pain, which causes them both fear and sadness. The children are also
concerned, but to a much less degree, over dying or death as "the worst thing
that could happen." 11
It is not unusual for children to be apprehensive of sickness and painful injuries,
and there is much in the environment which directs Dakota children's attention
to sickness and death. The extreme cold and storms of winter may cause these
children, whose general health and diet are poor, to have more than their share
of sickness. Data on the incidence of sickness are lacking. Sick children are gen-
erally not well cared for in a Dakota home until symptoms become alarming, and
then there is a rush for assistance. Overanxiety about sickness among the children
is, therefore, to be expected. Death also might be expected to concern them, for a
great many families have lost one or two small children. The ritual days of
mourning, the giving-away of property, and the frequently dramatic behavior
of the bereaved deeply impress the children.
Self-concern over being sick and dying would not be thought unusual under
these circumstances if it were not for the additional high anxiety over the death
of others. Worry about the possible death of other people, as measured by the
frequency of responses, is exceeded only by that caused by the potential or overt
aggression of people and by the behavior of animals. Although the children have
strong affection for their relatives, worry about their death or sickness appears to
be centered in apprehension about how such catastrophes will affect the children
themselves. This preoccupation is thrown into bolder relief by the absence of any
responses showing interest in the happiness or activities of other people.
In responses reflecting self-initiated relationships with other people, the chil-
dren show some interest in visiting relatives and attending family gatherings for
recreational or rituat occasions. Such positive interaction is, however, almost as
infrequent as the appearance of real interest in the welfare of other people. The
self -initiated action with others lies almost exclusively in various forms of aggres-
sion fighting, damaging property, breaking rules, disobedience, disrespect, and
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 193
stealing. This is in the face of an official code in which stealing and openly agres-
sive acts within one's own society are the two worst forms of behavior. As a result
they feel very sad and ashamed of what they have done.
The evaluation of stealing as the foremost "bad thing to do" among the descend-
ants of a society that praised stealing from the enemy calls for comment. Older
generations stole from the government as a form of waging war or retaliating
against their conquerors. It was once an admired act which set a pattern in a
traditional form for releasing tension. The example of stealing as a means of
demonstrating hostility is still set by many adults. In a situation where many
people are very poor and often hungry, it is to be expected that for "have-nots"
to steal from the "haves" will not be the "worst thing to do." But this behavior
has been punished so long and so severely that the children are very conscious of
the wrongness of any theft in the official code. In the personal code, stealing
within one's own group was and still is "bad" behavior.
Another major characteristic of the children's behavior manifests itself in their
failure to make responses in parts of the tests. Many Dakota children withdraw
from as much overt activity as possible. One indication of this constraint is the
frequency of refusal or apparent inability to answer all the questions of the tests.
The second is the high proportion of responses showing anxiety about the hos-
tility of others; and the third is the very low proportion of responses of self-
initiated action. The ratio of responses in these three classifications is, respectively,
9, 5, and 1. The children appear to control active behavior and expression of their
feelings and to break out into aggressive acts when they can no longer restrain
AGE AND SEX DIFFERENCES IN BEHAVIOR
The behavior of a child changes as he develops physically and passes from
early to late childhood and into adolescence and the post-adolescent period. As he
grows older, he moves into the wider circles of his society beyond his immediate
family. His behavior changes as he adjusts to, conflicts with, or imitates his fellows
or elders. Parental training also changes and influences the behavior of the child
at different ages. It is beyond the scope of this study to describe the behavior
resulting from changes in physical growth. 12 However, the tests and observations
do contain material which shows behavior of boys and girls at different ages as
influenced by family, school, church, and community.
The responses to the tests show that, by the time the boys are eight or ten, they
have developed strong ties with their families. The majority of responses about
happy occasions center in family holiday parties. Presents are a source of great
pleasure. Toys and other belongings are very important to the boys, and they
become very disturbed if their possessions are damaged or taken away from them.
194 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Although they have not reached the age where formal giving is necessary, they
are already conscious of the need to be thoughtful and kind to others.
Pets and riding horses are also a source of pleasure to the boys, but experience
has made them afraid of animals. As they become older and can manage animals
better, their responses indicate that this fear decreases. They enjoy going to school
and to fairs and rodeos, and they are willing to work at home; but these activities
are not yet so important to them as they become later.
The family is the center of their social universe and is already regarded as the
one source of security. They are still afraid of being left alone, and at this age
their concern over the sickness and death of family members is greatest. Little
boys are also apprehensive about becoming sick and dying. Apparently they are
already aware of the insecurity of the world about them. They also know that to
express hostility openly toward others or to steal is bad behavior.
In the next age group, the years from eleven to thirteen, the boys' responses
show that they remain less in the home and join groups of playmates and wander
around the community with greater assurance. They show more vivacity and
more spontaneity than at any other time in their lives. However, the new relation-
ships also bring conflict. The boys get into many fights and quarrels, for which
they later feel sad or ashamed. They also begin to steal, to damage property, and
to break school rules, and they are ashamed of doing so. These actions reflect in
part the aggressiveness encouraged in males at home during their earlier years
but no longer channelized by parental training or granted expression by any social
institution. It also shows that the boys feels they must fight to get along in hostile
surroundings. Boys of this age group have strong feelings of insecurity, and they
show more fear of their social environment than the younger age group. This
insecurity also appears in increased concern about becoming sick or injured.
The anxiety which they manifest about the aggressive behavior they desire or
feel impelled to take seems to stem from the now well-learned attitude that
thoughtfulness and kindness are the accepted bases of Dakota behavior within
their own group. This principle, learned at home, does not appear to function
outside it with consistent success. Generosity is also part of the pattern of thought-
fulness, yet it is not so strongly instilled that the boys eleven to thirteen years old
have given up feeling that personal property is of great importance to them.
The responses in the tests do not reveal any types of sex behavior, for there is
great restraint about mentioning such matters to outsiders. However, there is evi-
dence of an awareness of developing sexuality and a jiew_ consciousness about
relationships with girls. The taboo on sex relations is part of the moral code that
they hold at this age.
The adolescent and post-adolescent boys, aged fourteen to eighteen, show in
their behavior characteristics which were becoming evident in the earlier age
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 195
group. Relationships to other people are now their major concern. They seem
well indoctrinated with the Sioux code o good behavior, which requires thought-
fulness, kindness, generosity, and loyalty to family members. Family solidarity
and security are more important to the adolescents than to the middle age group
but not so important as to the youngest group.
The older boys show desire for achievement by getting an education. They
also want "to be on their own" by getting a job, partly in order to be free of family
restrictions. Their recreation is less devoted to playing games and takes on the
more adult characteristic of joining crowds to see the sights at fairs and watch
rodeos or dances.
There is a marked decline in the vivacity of this age group from the pre-adoles-
cent period. The behavior of adolescents reflects an almost sudden withdrawal,
confusion, and inability to find a satisfactory role. Delinquency is more apparent
than among the pre-adolescent years. Responses about stealing almost triple as the
boys pass from the middle to the older age group, and they reveal great anxiety
about it as wrongdoing. The number of these responses about stealing is an index
of their delinquent behavior, their lack of opportunity to express aggressive im-
pulses in socially approved ways, and their reaction against the felt hostility of
Their behavior with girls of their age does not appear in the test material, but
they hold sex morality as the least important of their moral concepts. This attitude
is in keeping with the training of boys and the traditional attitude of Dakota
males. If a sex code is lightly impressed on their consciences, it may be expected
that they will feel free to make sexual advances toward the girls of the community.
In this behavior, too, they can find release for drives that have been blocked in
As they grow older, the adolescent boys appear to become frightened, unsure of
themselves, and without the interests that will carry them into a life of activity and
a career. They may wish to grow up and take their places as men in their society,
but their behavior and moral concepts show that they are being defeated by the
impact of the social disorganization of their people. Their tests indicate a feeling
that reservation authorities, Indian leaders, and even their own communities,
where people constantly criticize each other, are all against them. In fact, their
fear of the ill-will and unfriendliness of society at this period of their development
is higher than ever before. Seeing no niche or role for themselves and a life on the
reservation that seems empty, they tend to retreat from life.
The girls follow much the same development as the boys until they reach ado-
lescence, but they appear to reach the various stages a year or two earlier than
the boys, as white girls do.
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 197
The youngest group of girls, aged eight to ten, feel that the family serves as a
great protection to them, as do the boys of the same age group. But the departure
of a member from the family circle, or the sickness or death of a relative, upsets
the girls' feelings of security in the family even more than it does the young boys'.
The girls appear to acquire the pattern of thoughtful and kind behavior and to
enjoy the social relationships outside the family at an earlier age than the boys.
Their greater enjoyment of going to school and being among the crowd on holi-
day occasions reflects both a little more maturity and the confinement imposed
upon them at home. The little girls do not give as many responses as the boys
about being afraid of being left alone, probably because they are kept closer to
their mothers. The youngest girls show better social integration because they
indicate less concern about themselves and more interest in the welfare of others.
Girls of this age group become involved in fights and quarrels, but they are
disturbed about this behavior and the troubles made for them by others. They
express also some fear of the opposite sex and show that they are already aware of
their sexual role and the conduct expected of them. Fear of the physical environ-
ment is also clearly evident from their responses. Even to a greater extent than the
eight- to ten-year-old boys, 'the girls of this age group are afraid of animals and
especially snakes. This fear is excessive and may reinforce their general appre-
hension which develops later.
Girls of eleven to thirteen continue to expand their relationships with social
groups outside, the family. School creates an excellent opportunity for this, and
the pleasure of attending school increases. The family does not decrease in im-
portance but now imposes stronger restrictions on the girls' behavior, obviously
because they are approaching or entering adolescence. The consciousness of their
sexual role dominates the behavior of the girls themselves. They appear more
afraid of the advances of men and boys and the criticism of the community.
They are also interested in clothes and personal ornaments.
Because modesty and restrained behavior are expected of girls, fighting makes
them feel deeply ashamed. Evidently they try to control such behavior but ex-
press some of their aggression in stealing. They show both embarrassment and
anger about such behavior, which indicates that they become participants as well
as objects of it.
By the time the girls become adolescent or post-adolescent, their behavior
changes and in some directions their anxieties increase. They are kept in the home
and given a strong position there. Interest in the solidarity and security of the
family is maintained. School assumes a more serious aspect as the girls become
more interested in getting an education. They continue to have a good time there,
and they are now also interested in getting a job, although to a lesser degree than
boys of their age. It is in their relationships and attitudes outside the family and
198 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
formal school life that the girls show the greater change. Life about them appears
to cause more apprehension and create more social difficulties than at any earlier
age. They are more afraid to be alone, more afraid of the dark, of ghosts, and of
what may befall them or their relatives. They are also more anxious now about
being sick or dying. The type of responses about sickness and also "getting well"
suggests that some of their concern about sickness is associated with menstruation.
The older girls appear to have lost some of their anxiety about direct aggression
from others, especially boys. They are now having boy friends without feelings of
shame or excessive fear. The rough behavior of boys may arouse their anger
rather than fear, and they often strike back. But they feel that this conduct is very
bad, worse than stealing. In fact, "stealing" drops out of their replies to the Emo-
tional Response Test, although it appears as bad conduct in their Moral Ideology
BEHAVIOR AND ATTITUDES IN RELATION TO THE SOCIAL STRUCTURE
From children's orientation in society it is obvious that the greatest amount of
interaction will be with members of the family and with the teacher and age
mates at school. This is apparent in responses of the Emotional Response and
Moral Ideology tests. From both the types and the frequencies of responses, it
appears that the children construct society in the following manner. First is the
family, of mother, brothers and sisters, father, and grandparents. Next in impor-
tance is the school, made up of playmates and teachers. Great distinction is drawn
between playmates of the same age and sex and those who are older or younger
or of opposite sex. The rest of society is usually classed as "everybody" or "some-
The relationships which the children have with "the family" as a group are
emotionally colored with happiness or sadness and with little fear, shame, or
anger. They think of "the family" in terms of good times when they are all to-
gether, but in terms of sadness when someone leaves, dies, or becomes ill. They
also regard "the family" as the most active authority, or praiser and blamer,
indicating that all members of the family criticize or punish and also reward
them. Examination of the relationship between different members of the family
show that intimacies, affection, and conflicts vary greatly, and much of this
depends upon whether the child is a boy or girl.
Test responses indicate that the happiest family relationship of the boys is with
their brothers, making it evident that the Dakota pattern of solidarity between
brothers is continuing. Although boys are also close to their mothers, there is
some distance between them because of the mother's function as the family disci-
plinarian and because of the difference in sex. Since the boys are taught to be
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 199
reserved before women, they are likely to feel embarrassed in their mother's
presence. This embarrassment they feel also before other women, and it is the
chief reaction to girl age mates and to their teachers, most of whom are women.
The boys' relationship to their sisters appears to be fundamentally an affectionate
one, but the responses about their sisters^ are mainly ones of sadness and some
anger. The boys feel sad when their older sisters punish them or do some unkind
thing. The boys also feel upset when their sisters leave the family. The shame
expected to be shown in associations with their sisters, whom they were tradi-
tionally taught to avoid, does not appear in the responses; this indicates that the
taboo now rests lightly on the consciences of Dakota boys.
The interaction between fathers and their sons appears much less intense and
frequent than between mothers and sons. The boys enjoy a very pleasant relation-
ship with their fathers but clo not regard them as real authorities. The role of the
father appears less significant among the Sioux than among the Navaho and
Hopi 13 or among white children of a midwestern town. It indicates how unim-
portant the men of the Dakota have become in their families, and how much the
boys lack in a well-rounded family life and the necessary training for an adequate
and satisfactory man's role.
Grandparents appear to have very slight influence in the lives of the boys, for
they make little mention of grandfathers or grandmothers in either test.
The girls' relationships with members of their families differ to some extent
from the relationships of the boys. As may be expected from the girls' greater
activity in the home, their relationships are closest and deepest with their mothers.
The girls appear happiest in their family life, and the mother appears to be the
one person with whom they enjoy predominantly happy relationships. Neverthe-
less, the'rhotKersaTealsb strong disciplinarians to their daughters. The girl? do not
appear to enjoy an intimate relationship with their fathers, who exercise little
authority over them and evoke little respect. In marked contrast to the close ties
between brothers, the girls show strong conflict with their sisters. Although the
girls appear to enjoy more pleasant experiences with their brothers than their
brothers do with them, the girls recall most of their experienceis with their broth-
ers with sadness. These were times when brothers were sick or died or went
away from the family. They were also times of quarreling with their brothers.
As a general mode of behavior, children appear to feel that they wish to get along
with their siblings of the other sex, and they recall disputes and conflicts with
feelings of sadness rather than anger.
The grandparents appear to have a more significant influence with the girls
than they do "with the boys. It is usually the girls who are sent to help grandpar-
ents in keeping house; so it is not surprising that the girls consider the grand-
200 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
parents as persons of little less authority than fathers. It is probably the grand-
mothers who direct and criticize the girls most.
We have found that the major reaction of the children to society was one of
fear of potential hostile aggression and anger at actual aggression. This reaction
is made primarily to people outside the family, classed as "everybody." To the
boys the most important groups of people outside the family are their age mates.
With other boys there is a great deal of conflict, revealed by the great preponder-
ance of "anger" responses. Although there is much quarreling and censure of one
another among the boys, age mates appear in the responses more often as persons
who praise than as persons who blame. Hence, we can be sure that age mate rela-
tionships are not characteristically unfriendly. The boys look upon other children
as important judges of their behavior and as people with whom they wish to get
along well, yet the other children cause them much trouble; this creates a serious
social problem. The shame that girls cause them indicates that the boys feel tense
with the opposite sex. When the boys act aggressively toward girls, the girls fight
back by ridiculing and shaming the boys. From all these reactions it is evident
that social experience within their own generation during childhood produces
insecurity and anxiety among the boys.
In marked contrast, the girls' pleasantest relationships outside the family circle
are those with their girl age mates. Indeed, girl friends and teachers appear to
be the only individuals except their mothers with whom the girls find truly
cordial relationship. The extreme fear and anger which girls feel toward others
as a general behavior pattern seem to be most specifically centered upon their boy
age mates and the older people in the community. The girls find less pleasure
than boys in mixing with the general community. Not only are they frightened
and angered in their usual associations outside the family and school but they are
also deeply ashamed if anything occurs outside the passive and distant relation-
ships expected in normal daily life.
The type of behavior and relationships in the school present best the social posi-
tion of the Dakota children. Test responses show that going to school is a very
happy experience after the first adjustments are made, and, furthermore, it is
looked upon as a moral and social obligation. School, like play, implies a great
deal of interaction with age mates and teachers. The test responses indicate, how-
ever, that the children's pleasure in school does not come so much from direct
participation or intense activity with teachers and other children as from being
able to immerse themselves in a crowd that is doing something, where they can be
entertained and find something of interest. In this, school is like going to the
movies or a fair. Even in doing the definite tasks and attaining the definite ob-
jectives each year, the children are performing with a large group. In other words,
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 201
children are going to school because they like to be with other people. But, fearing
the actions others will take, the children keep to themselves as much as possible.
In our observations of children at school during this study, we saw this with-
drawal in the exclusive little cliques of related children. When they met other
individuals, they slapped and hit each other frequently.
Yet, while social satisfaction is the most important part of going to school, test
responses show that "getting an education" is also important. This interest in
getting an education is one of the few signs of an interest in getting ahead, ac-
quiring some preparation for life, and, in general, desiring to mature. To get a
job is also considered in their moral ideology as one of the more important good
things to do, but the job itself is rarely defined. Seldom does the child express a
desire to be a cowboy, farmer, trader, nurse, or teacher. He only wants to "get a
job." The absence of definite career goals from the Dakota children's responses is
as significant as their negative attitude toward their environment. The lack of
specific roles and objectives or of any organized activity in which they can par-
ticipate after leaving school seems to frustrate their drives for achievement.
Teachers are the most important adults as guides and disciplinarians in the
lives of the boys. The teachers have a more balanced role as praisers and blamers
of boys' behavior than do teachers for white children in a mid western town who
were given similar tests. For Dakota boys, however, teachers do not have as sig-
nificant a role in approving or disapproving of behavior as do the teachers in these
white schools. The Indian boys' own age mates appear to be more influential than
their teachers and are thus continuing the contemporary Indian behavior pattern.
Much of this is attributable to the fact that the teachers, with rare exceptions, do
not belong to the Dakota society. It seems also due to the fact that most of the
teachers are women with whom Dakota boys feel more embarrassment than do
In contrast, teachers appear to have more influence on girls than do their
fathers or age mates. Since most of the teachers are women, they can carry on
intimate relationships with the girls without the embarrassment caused the boys.
The girls* greater ease and generally better relationship with their teachers may
account in part for the fact that girls like school better than boys. The teacher's
position of praiser and blamer, or mother surrogate, is as important to the Indian
girls as to white school children in a midwestern town. The Indian girls, however,
feel the teacher somewhat less a blamer than do the whites.
Within the general society, elders, ministers, or priests, and the government are
specifically designated but seem to have little importance in Dakota children's
lives. The trader is mentioned only rarely, nearly always as someone "getting
after them" for stealing. The boys look upon government employees and the
202 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
elders of their community outside the family as more adversely critical than
friendly; but, except for the oldest boys, the influence of neither group appears to
be strong. 14 The girls are more timid about adults outside the family but rarely
mention the government or officials. In fact, they have very little contact with the
latter beyond the school staff.
God is the only deity whom the Dakota children mention in their test responses.
He is not mentioned in the Emotional Response Test as the source of happiness,
fear, or any of the other emotional responses studied, or as the bringer of good
things, but he appears in the Moral Ideology Test responses as an authority who
praises more than he blames. As a praising authority, especially for girls, he
appears to function with greater significance than grandparents or elders and the
other people or institutions outside the family and school.
The clergy as authorities apparently have little significance to the government
school children. As very few of the school children at the Catholic mission were
tested, the position of the priests and nuns cannot be stated. It is probable that they
rank more closely with the teachers as people of authority than with the clergy
as functionaries in the communities.
The small number of responses which the Dakota children gave regarding
themselves as praising or criticizing their own behavior may indicate the slight
degree to which their consciences are developed. This situation is in kqeping with
traditional Dakota organization, where social controls were primarily external.
The fact that this system of control by ridicule and criticism or by constant watch-
fulness on the part of adult society operates today probably accounts for the high
percentage of responses in the Moral Ideology Test that people should be pun-
ished by going to jail rather than by conscience.
The absence of highly developed consciences among the contemporary Dakota
children has, of course, great importance for teachers. These children should not
be expected to do something because it is "right" or "wrong" in itself. We can see
from their behavior and concepts of authority that Dakota children look to those
for whom they have deep affection and respect to set standards of behavior.
Although the responses concerning conscience are. far fewer among Indian
children than white children of a midwestern town, it is not to be inferred that
Dakota children are totally without consciences. Inner controls are being de-
veloped more and more from association with whites a especially teachers, al-
though not always from the best perspective. Only through endless patience
and friendly interest can the teacher hope to develop in her children inner
controls which they need in order to function better in their changing world
where external controls are failing.
INTELLIGENCE, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR 203
1 . For a description of the tests see Appendix I.
2. This is the average for the age group six to eleven, for whom the test was designed. On the Arthur
test the Pine Ridge children of this age group had an average I.Q. of 101.1; the Kyle children, 98.9.
3. Average scores for Pine Ridge town were: boys, 107.8; girls, 97.6. For Kyle community the
scores were: boys, 116.9; girls, 110.3. White children's scores were: boys, 983; girls, 103.4.
4. See Laura Thompson and Alice Joseph, The Hopi Way (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1944), pp. 100-101.
5. See Robert J. Havighurst and Rhea R. Hilkevitch, "The Intelligence of Indian Children as
Measured by a Performance Scale," Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, XXXIX (1944),
6. This section is based upon an analysis by Dorothea C. Leighton, M.D., special physician, U.S.
Indian Service, of the records of medical examinations of the children made by several members of
the Pine Ridge medical staff. It should be stated here that, because of the variations between examiners
and because of the lack of any absolute standards for "good health" or various diseased conditions that
can be determined by a single routine examination, the analysis can hardly be considered conclusive.
7. However, medical standards as to what constitutes adequate and inadequate nutrition are so
uncertain that this statement should not be accepted with finality. For further discussion of diet as a
probable factor in the present condition of the Dakota see chap. xv.
8. See Thompson and Joseph, op. >.; and Alice Joseph, Rosamond Spicer, and Jane Chesky, The
Desert People (Indian Education Research Project [in preparation]), Part IV.
9. Since July, 1944, the Indian Service has given checks with which to purchase food at stores to
Pine Ridge Indians entitled to rations.
10. This classification follows the concept of social interaction, or the reciprocal relationships be-
tween an individual and other individuals, animals, objects, or situations, discussed in Eliot D. Chappie
and Carleton S. Coon, Principles of AntAropolgy (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1942), pp. 36-41.
Social interaction, as described there, consists of an origin of action and a response. In the present
study the data of the three categories (action initiated by others, action initiated by self, and no
personal interaction) were subdivided into: actions which were of interest to the individual and
brought satisfaction to him and actions which were of concern and anxiety and therefore produced
dissatisfaction in him.
11. A few children said death was "the best thing that could happen to them." See the case of Red
Bird in the preceding chapter.
12. In fact, it is impossible to distinguish satisfactorily the changes due solely to physical growth
and those due solely to personal-social development.
13. Comparative data on test responses made by Indian and white school children which are given
in this section and the following are from Robert J. Havighurst, "Comparison of Indian Children and
White Children by Means of the Moral Ideology Test" (MS).
14. For the boys fourteen to eighteen years old this does not follow (see p. 195).
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LOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE
) fl ? ) ) ) ) -) ) -3 ) ) ) ? ggg ggg ggg ggg go g<g- ggg gCg" ggg g<g- ggg" gCC" < <
f i IHE preceding chapter has described the overt behavior of the children as
I they have been willing to report it in answer to direct questioning in the
JL Emotional Response and Moral Ideology tests. This behavior reflects the
personalities of the group and especially certain dominant personality traits.
Of these traits, the most striking appears to be the anxiety which arises from
the lack of personal security among their people and in their physical environ-
ment. These children have lost confidence in behaving as their impulses direct,
and home training has failed to teach them new channels into which to redirect
their energies. In their anxiety from not knowing how to behave they have
placed a lid, as it were, on their impulses, and so they act in a very constrained
way. Since they do not know how to utilize their impulses, they gain little
self-satisfaction; and, because their outward behavior is inconsistent, they also
gain little approval from those around them. Rebuffed in their contacts with
others and unable to find inner satisfactions, they withdraw further into them-
selves and lack warm and emotional responsiveness and vigor. Since human
beings cannot live under such constant repression of their energy without
serious strain upon their personality and so must find release in some way, the
Dakota children understandably exhibit varied and seemingly unpredictable be-
havior and almost conflicting personality traits.
On these unpredictable actions and seeming inconsistencies, the projective
tests throw much light by revealing' how the individual handles his impulses
and emotions. They furnish information about the individual's attitudes and
interpersonal relationships as well as about his ideals, disappointments, and
fantasies, without the inhibitions he feels when he thinks he is talking about
In the Thematic Apperception Test the child is shown a series of pictures
and is asked to tell a story about each of them. The pictures represent familiar
situations a mother and child, two children walking down a road, an old man
and a boy. By creating stories about them, the child describes much of his own
relationship to other people, his attitude toward his life-situation, and the ex-
LOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE 205
periences he would like to have. But he is not conscious of telling anything
about himself and so is comparatively free and open.
A similar process takes place when the child is shown the meaningless "ink
blots" in the Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test and is asked what they look
like to him. In both tests he gives information about the facts of his real or
imaginative life and also his way of approaching problems. One child will tell
a'story full of detail, the characters will have names, and the narratives will
move along to some sort of denouement. Another will describe the situation
vaguely, without much attempt to distinguish characters or to resolve the situa-
tion. One child will see in an ink blot the whole figure and interpret it in this
fashion, while another will spend minutes elaborating on the tiniest detail of
form or color. Thus the tests reveal the elements of the child's personality, such
as his ability to organize, his compulsive tendencies, his method of control, and,
in general, his way of meeting his life-experiences. The results, therefore, show
much about the basic personality structure underlying overt behavior.
From the stories and fantasies given in the Thematic Apperception Test, we
learn again that Dakota children conceive of the world as a dangerous and
hostile place. Characters in the children's stories often have too little to eat
and few of the other material things which make life comfortable. Hence they
feel deprived and dissatisfied. In their uncomfortable surroundings they often
become tired or sick.
The instability of the children's world is also clearly evident from this test.
The characters in the stories, with whom the children identify themselves, are
uncertain and suffer many accidents and lose what little security they have.
According to the analysis of the children's stories, the social structure appears
equally dissatisfying, for there is not much to do in their environment. The
relatively stable family unit provides little enough security or guidance, and
no other organization in the Dakota society gives any real direction for the
child's energies or rewards for becoming any special type of person. Uncer-
tainty is the feeling which the child senses in the people and groups around
him. He sees no worth-while position or function in the future and no attain-
ment of desired objectives. The social world, like the physical world, is a place
where there is no definite road to follow, no place to go. This is a terrifying
fact for a child to discover and rediscover as he grows older.
A few stable and positive elements in the otherwise emotionally disturbing
environment offer some security for the child, arouse his interest, and afford
a measure of prestige. The first is the family, which appears in many of the
children's stories and responses as a haven and a source of pleasure. The kindly
206 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
and affectionate relationships with parents and brothers and sisters during early
childhood are always recalled with nostalgia. However, as he grows older, the
child senses increasingly the anxiety and consternation of his parents and the
other adults of his environment. The father particularly appears to fail in af-
fording the expected affection and direction of family affairs; he seems to have
little prestige and position in the eyes of the child.
As the stabilizing influence of the family begins to waver, the Thematic Apper-
ception Test shows that the school begins to offer some measure of security and
organization to the growing child and some of the continuity lacking in the local
society. These contributions to the child's security are basic reasons why associa-
tions at school are, in general, pleasant ones.
Another positive factor in the stories told by the boys is their pleasure in riding
and in the life of the cowboy. This is the one specific career which appears to
appeal to the Sioux boys and to offer them potentially some continuity of occupa-
tion and objective in life. The possession of horses appears to be a point of prestige.
The total effect of their environment on the children, however, is the generation
of a great deal of insecurity, lack of definiteness and recognized purpose, inde-
cision, and passivity. This is clearly indicated in the details of the stories, in
which the characters are not named and in which no clear-cut action or definite
outcome occurs. Relationships with people are uncertain, and unrest and conflict
are acute. There are few intense and significant social events to give form and
content to life. Social continuity is not offered to the children either by white
society or by the residue of the old Dakota culture.
ANXIETY AND ITS EFFECTS
The Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test as well as the Thematic Apperception
Test indicates that Dakota children, in fear of what may happen to them, stifle
their impulses and energy and their emotional reactions to people and situations
around them. We have seen that fear and anxiety are generated in the children
by the unpredictability in their parents' behavior and by the frequent or even
constant scarcity of food and other necessities in the home. This stifling of them-
selves is intensified by the controls placed on behavior during early child-training
which has been in progress some time before the child reaches six, the youngest
age in the sample of tested children. The constraint effected by both processes
appears to be accomplished at the cost of the child's vivaciousness and normal
development. Refusal to participate in life about them, isolation of themselves
from all persons and activities about them, great caution, and a general negativism
become the major characteristics of the personality configuration of the group as
In individuals who cut themselves off or are cut off from others, there usually
LOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE 207
develops a rich inner life as a compensation. This is characteristic o the "intro-
vert" as the term is popularly used. However, the high degree of emotional tension
and inward constraint prevents even this from taking place among the Dakota.
These children can get along through usual situations in spite of the check
they place upon themselves, but it deprives them of real spontaneity and imaginal
freedom which would give them greater enjoyment of life and people. They
become incapable of close or deep emotional attachments to others. Personal inter-
action is greatly reduced, and their ties to other people are superficial. This be-
havior has already been observed in the personality sketches. The Emotional
Response and Moral Ideology tests revealed a lack of solicitude for others and a
desire to be a passive member of a group rather than an active participant.
Occasionally, when impulses and spontaneity from within are blocked and
pressures from without cause unbearable anxiety or tensions, the children lose
control, flaring momentarily into hostile action. We have seen this behavior take
the form of petty and trivial acts of criticism, slapping, or taking other people's
possessions. This is their strongest outward resistance to pressure from others,
for they are too removed from deep feeling and are too emotionally exhausted to
Another effect of anxiety stemming from the generally disturbing and un-
satisfying character of the Dakota child's world is demonstrated by the "escapism"
in their stories of the good life on the plains before the coming of the white man
stories which constantly recur in the responses to the Thematic Apperception
Test. Escape through fantasy is common to the disturbed individuals of all socie-
ties: one way of adjusting when life become utterly unsatisfactory is to give up
trying to deal with objective reality and to spend one's time imagining how nice
things used to be or will be. What distinguishes the escape fantasies of the Dakota
children is their apparent vividness. Hunting and warfare, living in tepees,
wearing the old Indian dress, and dancing the old dances are presented as things
that, it is hoped, will come again. They are not recounted as past glories but as
satisfactions that may return to make up for the hardships and fears of the present.
For children to believe this, to be so trained from childhood, is poor preparation
for the actualities of life, to say the least. The conflict of these daydreams with the
realities of modern life on the reservation and of white society adds to the inse-
curity and the resultant anxiety in the child's mind.
AGE AND SEX DIFFERENCES
Data from the Thematic Apperception and the Rorschach tests support the
evidence of the other tests that the psychological structure of the children varies
as they grow older, come in contact with more of their society, and look forward
to adult life. Although in the early years of six to eight uncertainty, repression,
208 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
and hampered spontaneity are already present, the children appear to be well
organized in comparison with later years; their actions show some acceptance of
the rules of behavior.
In the next years, from nine to twelve, they appear to lose some of their restraint
and show a more active interest and zest for life, with increasing spontaneity. Of
the age groups studied, the children of this group appear to be the freest, the most
at ease with themselves and the world about them, as their play and open aggres-
siveness show. This follows the normal development of white children, but, com-
pared to them or even to Navaho children, who are probably more restrained than
the white, 1 the Dakota children of nine to twelve lack exuberance and vivacity.
They never appear to develop a full inner life and remain unable to resolve
With the advent of puberty, the children begin to retire more completely within
themselves and lose interest in the world around them. There is a decrease in their
earlier spontaneity and freedom of behavior. The restraint set up by environ-
mental pressures now appears to take complete control. The personalities of the
adolescents seem not to mature; they appear to resign themselves, to become
apathetic and passive, and to accept the anxiety the outer world creates. In the
face of this empty and unfriendly world, the adolescents and post-adolescents
become still more frightened and constricted.
At this age the boys and girls show different adjustments. The boys are more
irregular or unbalanced in their control, but they allow a little more expression to
their impulses and thoughts. However, this is expressed in increased attention to
generalities rather than in practical and efficient thinking. There is also an appear-
ance of ambitiousness in their thinking. This may be expected among a people
who once were their own masters and the dominant cultural group in their area.
Their ambitiousness now seems only to reflect faintly the self-assertive qualities
which did not ripen in the distorted cultural situation. The beginning of a philo-
sophical outlook and ambitiousness are usual in the thinking of young white peo-
ple of sixteen to eighteen, but among the Dakota boys the first functions as an
evasion of coming to grips with reality, and the second as a resort to wishful
thinking or a compensation for the futility which they sense in their situation.
The girls as they grow older appear to retain some of the more formal control
of earlier years, the result of the modest behavior they have been taught, and they
appear to make a more practical adjustment than that of the boys. They continue
to be, however, very restrained and careful in their approach to life. As they enter
their teens and sense the significance of pubescence, they show extreme agitation
when confronted with new or unusual situations; in fright they retire within
themselves and seem almost powerless to act. This paralysis lessens as they pass
LOOKING BENEATH THE SURFACE 209
The picture of Dakota child personality which emerges from the tests is one of
weakness of natural drives and spontaneity resulting from repressive forces set in
action early in the child's life. This paucity of impulse and emotion appears to
blight the creativity, imagination, and fantasy that are normal in a healthy mental
life and to prohibit wholesome relationships with other people. Dakota child
personality seems crippled and negative, as if it rejected life. The unfriendly en-
vironment, which offers so little opportunity or satisfaction, retards the growth of
personality and prevents it from becoming positive, rich, and mature. Life is lived
on the defensive.
1. Dorothea C. Leighton and Clyde Kluckhohn, TAe-Pevplrtind^JMir Children (Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, forthcoming), Part II. .*-;' 1 ~ ' 5" ' -' ~ "" " E
PART IV. OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE
NEW WEAPONS FOR SECURITY
IF LEFT at this point, the picture that has been drawn of the Pine Ridge adults
and children might seem gloomy indeed. It is necessary to recall, however,
that this is a group picture. Not all the parents and grandparents nor all the
children are frustrated beyond achieving a normal or successful life. Children
such as Robert, Winona, and Andre have made good personal adjustments and
will probably lead satisfactory lives. In an improved and enriched environment
their achievements and satisfactions can increase. The children have the level and
range of intelligence we may expect from an average group of school children
anywhere in America. They show ambitiousness, although it is usually of the
daydream variety. These are potentialities of personality which will flower in a
more favorable environment.
Looking back across their history, we can see significant events which con-
tributed particularly to the present condition of the Pine Ridge Dakota. From
their effect on the people we can gain insights for possible approaches to their
regeneration. The extermination of the buffalo has often been pointed out as the
basic reason for the present disorganization of the Plains Indians. Certainly the
loss of the buffalo was the deathblow to Plains Indian culture, but the present
predicament of the Pine Ridge Dakota is not a direct result of this episode. They
achieved during the first decade and a half of this century a new, if less complex
and rewarding, way of life, centered in a cattle economy. The loss of this economy,-
in the cattle sales of 1916 and 1917 and the subsequent land sales, appears as the
most significant single catastrophe in the history of Pine Ridge people.
The occupation of the men, who had been the keystone of the Dakota cultural
structure, abruptly vanished. The cowboy life to which they had so easily adapted
themselves was now without purpose. A well-organized family life had continued
up to this time. The band-derived communities had survived without severe dis-
locations. The churches were becoming strengthening factors in the social and
religious life. But, soon after the loss of the herds, demoralization of the people
NEW WEAPONS FOR SECURITY 211
spread to all their social institutions. By 1924 the government became as alarmed
over the Pine Ridge Indians' failing will to live as over their lack of sufficient
food and increasing sickness.
This appearance of starvation in the middle of the 1920's is significant in the
light of the apathy which has become so general. Most of the Sioux of North and
South Dakota were showing signs of undernutrition about this time, and all had
been losing their cattle, although not always by such drastic methods as occurred
on Pine Ridge. This meant that they were losing their supply of meat their staple
food for centuries. Even during the time between the disappearance of the buf-
falo and the building of large cattle herds, the Sioux had been supported by gov-
ernment rations. The years after 1916, when beef was no longer included in their
rations, were their first experience in living without meat for a long period of
time. The loss of the beef and the cattle was an ecological change which has con-
tinued for nearly thirty years. This change might, and probably did, cause modifi-
cations in the physiology of the Sioux. Health conditions and observations of diet
among them' substantiate the assumption that much of their present behavior
may be attributable to physiological causes. The biological factor, although not
encompassed in this study, is important to bear in mind as one of the elements
of the environment affecting the Sioux.
After their cash from the cattle sales had been dissipated, the Pine Ridge tribe
began to accept rations and developed a dependency upon the government which
they have never fully overcome. The Civilian Conservation Corps provided work
which brought an income to most of the families, but the people remained nearly
as dependent as they were at the beginning of the depression or when most of the
band moved to the Agency in 1879. The recent war years have brought work and
the highest wages which the Dakota have ever earned. But the sources of these
wages lie outside the reservation and will probably not continue for many more
years. Even the optimum of postwar employment in peacetime industries will
not eliminate the fundamental economic and social problems of the reservation.
Large-scale nongovernment wage work is improbable in this rural and sparsely
We have seen that the past social and economic experiences have culminated in
serious personal disorganization as well as severe poverty and unemployment.
This study has shown that this personal disorganization begins very early in life
and is seriously handicapping the children on the reservation today. Although
we have no data about personality development of the adults, the behavior ob-
served among them and the insecurity they appear to impart to their children,
suggest they have suffered similarly from oppressive environment.
These circumstances lead to the conclusion that the fundamental need of the
Pine Ridge Dakota today is a way of life which will give them personal security
212 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
and an opportunity for creative development. They need a way of working them-
selves out of the present poverty through a permanent economy based on available
resources. They need also greater self -direction to permit the regeneration of so-
ciety. The development of a reservation-wide cattle economy and community
councils for local self-government offer logical approaches to these goals.
The local government program has already promoted the revival of the cattle
economy to increase income and improve living conditions and of a democratic
political organization to give the Indians greater direction in their community
and tribal affairs. The condition of the Pine Ridge people requires that emphasis
be placed upon the human objective and especially upon the objective of relieving
the psychological distress which now prevails. The government programs eco-
nomic, social, educational, and political have as their ultimate objective the
welfare of the Indians; but, in the effort to achieve this objective, the focus has
rested too frequently on the more concrete goals of material improvements and
methods of promoting their attainment. Awareness of the long distance which
many Pine Ridge Indians must travel to gain self-confidence and freedom from
fear can aid in orienting programs of rehabilitation toward producing the per-
sonality development and inner security basic to their success.
In one community, Red Shirt Table, the Agency has already worked intensively
in the sponsorship of a program of integrated activities for greater economic and
social welfare. It has stimulated, organized, and guided but has carefully re-
frained from any form of domination. The community's response in renewed
activity and personal happiness is already apparent. The people have formed a
cattle association with a business committee of Indian men and a community
council for directing local affairs. Old and young gather regularly at the new
school for work groups and recreational affairs. Men come to repair their farm
equipment at the shop; women bring their garden produce to can at the kitchen.
The school curriculum is centered around these activities. Although the Agency
started the program for able-bodied and interested families, through Indian in-
>sistence it now includes all the community. The aged and the disabled who can-
not actively participate and the uninterested and skeptical also have the oppor-
tunity to share in the cattle herd and all the community affairs. As the program
succeeds, personal stability and security are spreading through the community.
The primary values which this program appears to have for the men are the
restoration of cowboy life as an occupation around which sentiments and pres-
tige have already been built (including the renewed importance of the horse,
which is also a point of prestige) and the development of leadership and re-
sponsibility. The importance which the men play in this program is in keeping
with Dakota tradition. The men were the keystone in the former social structure,
and the culture was organized around their careers and achievements. The
214 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
restoration of an occupation which the Sioux already regard as manly and de-
sirable will prove invaluable to their morale. With a. permanent occupation they
can provide for their families and gain their respect. Through business committees
and community councils, the men can again acquire status and leadership. Not
the least important is the promise that, through their new social position and self-
respect, the men will become more significant as fathers to their children.
The values of the program are not limited to the men. The women and girls can
also increase the activity and significance of their lives. In the present society the
women have increased their importance in family life and have already emanci-
pated themselves from their former supplementary role. Through organized clubs
and guilds, the parent-teacher association, and the community and tribal council,
they have accepted active community leadership.
In the school program the children may gain security and confidence by ori-
enting their lives to objectives which they see are attainable in the daily activities
developing around their homes. As the schools attune their program more closely
to positive, functioning elements of Dakota child-training and society, the chil-
dren may become freer in expressing their feelings and desires. Increased emphasis
upon group activities with less individual competition, a stable system of discipline
with the student groups giving rewards and imposing punishments, and social
studies centered upon Dakota acculturation appear to be aspects of school experi-
ence which may help immeasurably in aiding personality development.
Children and adults sure of themselves and their objectives will be equipped
to strengthen economic and social techniques toward achieving an organized and
personally satisfying society and to attain a healthy adjustment to their environ-
TECHNIQUES USED IN THE STUDY
The techniques used in the study were drawn from social anthropology, psychology, psy-
chiatry, and medicine, but the great bulk of the data on which the study is based was obtained
from interviews and psychological tests conducted under the supervision of the writer by
members of the field staff drawn from the education and health divisions of Pine Ridge
Indian Agency and by an anthropologist who was also a Rorschach specialist Some of the
field staff received preliminary training in interviewing and conducting tests from members
of the University of Chicago Committee of the Indian Education Research Project. Training,
discussion, and evaluation of material were carried on by the supervisor and the staff in the
Kyle area for the first few months of the study.
The method of interviewing followed the techniques developed by W. Lloyd Warner and
others in the study of Yankee City 1 and F. J. Roethlisberger and W. J. Dickson in the Western
Electric Company study. 2 The staff made several visits to die parents and relatives of each of
the 166 children tested. Indian leaders, councilmen, government employees, missionaries,
cattlemen, and traders were also interviewed regarding die institutions, functions, and group
relationships of the community. Although occasional direct questioning about some subjects
was unavoidable, the ethnologist's usual method of questioning informants through inter-
preters was not followed.
RECORDS AND PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS
Information regarding each child's school work and behavior in the classroom was supplied
by teachers on a school record prepared by the research staff. This information was amplified
by observations in the classrooms and among the play groups. The medical examinations were
made by the Agency staff of doctors and nurses according to an outline prepared by physicians
on the research staff.
The psychological tests used in the studies of the five tribes made by the Indian Education
Research Project were selected from many types after consideration of their suitability to non-
English-speaking children, their freedom from cultural bias and handicaps, and the variety of
data they would yield. The basic objectives of the tests were to supply information about
intelligence, personal behavior, emotional development, moral ideas and attitudes, and the
structure of personality. Some of these tests elicited not only emotional reactions and attitudes
toward other people but also voluntary reports of personal behavior and experiences. Other
tests were employed to find what lay at the bases of the overt behavior; what effect sur-
roundings had upon the basic impulses, emotions, and mental processes; and the expression,
controls, or defenses which the individual made to these reactions. The tests were selected to
obtain information at different levels of psychological behavior. A brief description of the
various types of test follows.
The Grace Arthur 'Point Performance Scale (short form) 3 was used to score intelligence by
a set of nonverbal tests. This performance scale consists of six parts which have been selected
for their relative freedom from cultural elements and need for English reading, writing, and
arithmetic or other subjects learned in school. The total test includes the Knox Cubes, Seguin
216 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Form Board, Mare-and-Foal Test, Healy Picture-Completion Test, Porteus Mazes, and Kohs
Blocks. The Healy Test was eliminated from the computation of the scores because experience
showed that it required familiarity with white life beyond what the Indian children possessed.
The Arthur test measures ability to solve situations, speed of reaction time, and willingness
to conform, as well as other aspects of intelligence. It is adequate to measure the I.Q. for
children up to the age of fifteen.
The Goodenough Draw-a-Man Tesf was also used for scoring intelligence of children up
to eleven years of age. In this test the child is asked to draw a picture of a man to the best of
his ability. The scoring is made on the proportions of the figure and the details of anatomy
and clothing which the child includes. The I.Q. is calculated from the results.
The Kuhlmann- Anderson Tesf was given to some of the sample group of Dakota children
in the Pine Ridge school, but it was not part of the test battery designed for the Project. This
test, like the well-known Binet-Simon, requires understanding of English and reading ability,
and hence it gave some comparative check on the use of the relatively culture-free intelligence
tests among the children. The Kuhlmann-Anderson Test also includes performance tests.
Stewart's Emotional Response Test (revised) 6 asks the child to recount occasions when he
felt happy, sad, angry, afraid, or ashamed and what are the best and the worst things that could
happen to him. It thus obtains experiences associated with certain emotions. The responses
present emotional relationships and attitudes toward different persons, objects, and situations
on the overt level. These relationships can be classified into types of behavior which give some
cultural expectancies. In chapter x of this book are described the bases on which the responses
of the Dakota children were classified for the kind of behavior toward people of different roles
in the society and analyzed for the type and nature of relationships which the child experi-
enced with other people and institutions. The responses of this test were combined with those
of the Bavelas Test of Moral Ideology.
The Bavelas Test of Moral Ideology 7 asks the child what he thinks are "good" and "bad"
things to do and thus obtains the official or public moral standards learned by the child. These
questions aim to find out what the child thinks he should or should not do, not what he
actually would do in a given situation. In asking who would praise or blame him for doing
good and bad things, respectively, the questions are intended to discover the child's attitudes
toward persons in his society who are rewarding or punishing agents. Thus the test gives
the major fields of moral behavior and the people concerned with such behavior.
Murray's Thematic Apperception Test (revised) 8 employs a series of pictures of people in
various groupings and indefinite circumstances about which many interpretations might be
made. Pictures on cards are presented in sequence to the child, who is asked to tell a story
about each. For die Indian children, some of Murray's pictures were redrawn by an Indian
artist and the people put in Indian clothing. For the Dakota, some of the pictures used in the
Southwest studies were again redrawn to change the appearance of people and scenes to
familiar forms. After some experimentation, eight of the twenty pictures were presented to
all the Dakota children tested. Each child was allowed to select two pictures of the remaining
twelve. Many of the children acted very constrained in telling stories. By deviating from
the prescribed method and allowing the children to select two pictures, it was hoped that
they would have more to say about pictures which they had selected.
It is assumed that the child, in telling stories about these pictures, will project unconsciously
his own experiences, the bases of his relationships with other people, his reactions to his
environment, and the nature of his imagination. An analyst can determine from the stories
the intellectual and emotional configurations, the nature of social relationships, and the kind
of expression permitted to the impulse life of the individual child.
The Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Tesf is another projective device for estimating the
structure of the child's personality. This test employs a series of ten cards, each containing a
standarized meaningless "ink blot." The child is asked to tell what each blot looks like to
him. In his approach to and description of the things he sees, the child shows his intellectual
and emotional characteristics and his fundamental reactions. Analysis of the material gives a
picture of the structure of the personality its expressed and controlled drives and interests,
its conflicts and defense mechanisms, and die nature of adjustments made to itself and to
Not all the children took every test or examination, but enough took each so that deductions
might be fairly drawn. The types and numbers of tests made hi the study are shown in
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
The interview material, focused on family and community life, child-training, ways of
making a living, and social and religious institutions, was analyzed by the writer and used as
the basis for Parts I and II of this book. This material was supplemented by government
records and by literary sources which give the history and former culture of the Dakota.
Dorothea Leighton, M.D., special physician of the United States Indian Service, summarized
the data on the health of the children contained in die medical examinations.
Total children tested
Grace Arthur Point Performance
Goodenough Draw-a-Man ....
Ku h I'm ann - Ap H ersQH *
Physical examinations . ,,--...-,-
Stewart and Bavelas tests
Murray's Thematic Appreciation
* Given at one school to 34 children of the sample group: not a part of project techniques.
Each set of psychological test results was analyzed at the University of Chicago. Dr. Robert
Havighurst and his associates prepared the statistical data on the Arthur, Goodenough, and
Kuhlmann-Anderson intelligence tests and the Stewart and Bavelas tests, all of which lend
themselves to statistical analysis. Results of these tests were compared with those from all the
tribes studied and with results from some of the same tests administered to a group of white
children in a midwestern town where the Committee on Human Development of the Uni-
versity of Chicago has made a study utilizing many of the tests employed in the Indian Educa-
tion Research Project. Results of the Thematic Apperception and Rorschach tests were inter-
preted independently for each tribe. In chapters xiii and xiv of the present book, conclusions
about the intelligence, physical condition, overt behavior, and underlying organization of the
group personality of Dakota children are presented in this order.
Since few of these tests had been employed with Indian children previous to this Project, 10
it was necessary to check the validity of each test for Indian children. This was done by com-
parison of tests results of white children, where possible, and by comparison of the results of
one test with those of the others, as far as data permitted. Test results were also compared
with the material obtained by observation and interview.
The average I.Q.'s for the Indian tribes were compared with one another and with white
standards. The Indian groups scored averages similar to, above, and below the white standards
and, by not being consistently above or below the standard, indicated that they were not at an
218 WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
advantage or a disadvantage in taking these tests. The results of the Emotional Response and
Moral Ideology tests showed significant variations among the tribes and differences from the
results of the white children in a midwestern town. These differences were expected because
of the different cultural backgrounds and were explainable on a cultural basis by the an-
thropologists for each tribe.
An experiment was then made to check the correlation of the comparable data of each
test and the life-histories obtained by means of interviews. This was done first with data of a
few individuals from each tribe. Each test and the life-history material were analyzed and
interpreted without reference to the other data, the subjects of these experimental cases being
unknown to the analysts. A report of each child's tests and life-history was then given to all
the analysts, who were asked to match them on the basis of the interpretations. For example,
the Thematic Apperception analyst was asked to select from the reports on the life-history
and the Emotional Response, Moral Ideology, and Rorschach tests those which belonged with
one of his Thematic Apperception reports.
The reports about each child were then compared and the existing discrepancies discussed.
A high correlation among the findings appeared. In order to facilitate comparison, data from
each test describing phases of the personality were organized according to the following
outline, prepared by William E. Henry, of the University of Chicago.
OUTLINE FOR INDIVIDUAL CASE ANALYSIS
Designed from an analysis of areas of personal dynamics to be discerned from study of the Thematic
Apperception Test: to be used as an outline for analysis of individual case protocols of Thematic
Apperception and Rorschach tests and other techniques and for the infra-case comparison of data
derived from each of these techniques.
I. Mental Approach
A. Level of intellectual capacities
B. Adequacy and efficiency of intellectual functioning
C. Organization and logic of intellectual approach
D. Intellectual approach to new problems
II. Creativity: Extent and Nature
(Includes Imagination, Originality, Fantasy)
III. Behavioral Approach
A. General overt pattern (descriptive summary of overt pattern as observed in action)
B. Peer relationships (all subadults) (includes comments on relation to male and female peers,
general acceptance of and by peers, nature of relationship to them)
C. Adult relationships (acceptance/rejection of adult authority, nature of relationship to them)
D. School adjustment (to teacher and to work)
E. Specific problems of Area III
IV. Family Dynamics
A. Relationship to mother, father, siblings, and of each to child (overt and covert aspects)
B. Resolution of primary ties to parents
C. Summary of family emotional atmosphere
D. Specific problems of Area IV
V. Inner Adjustment and Defense Mechanisms
A. Basic emotional attitude (strength of drive toward solution of emotional problems)
B. Attitude toward inner impulse life, acceptance/rejection
C. Anxiety, insecurity, general and specific
D. Nature of ego defenses (relate Area V to Area III)
E. Control, system of (inner, conscious, outer, and constricted)
F. Approach to interpersonal dynamics, nature of emotional ties to other people
VI. Emotional Reactivity
A. Drive toward outer world
B. Spontaneity and personal freedom of action
VII. Sexual Adjustment
C. Specific problems (includes differentiation of aim and object)
VIII. Descriptive and Interpretative Summary
Patterning and organization of items in Areas I through VII including statement of nature of
adjustment in two areas: self and social
X. Descriptive Summary of Data
NOTE. This is essentially an outline for delineation of present adjustment and does not stress
etiology. Comments on etiology would be included in Area VIII.
Ten Dakota children were then analyzed by the same method. These children were selected
because of differences in age and degree of Indian blood from the cases of boys and girls who
had taken all types of tests and had an adequate amount of life-history data. The personality
sketches integrating data from all these reports, which appear in chapter xii of this book,
were written by the author with the assistance of William E. Henry and Dorothea Leighton,
M.D. These sketches attempt to describe the personality of the child as it appears from his
daily behavior, his personal history, and the background of his family and community. Data
from his tests are then presented to show his capacities, the underlying personality configura-
tion, and aspects which account in part for his observed behavior and adjustments.
1. W. Lloyd Warner and Paul S. Lunt, The Social Life of a Modern Community (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1941), I, 49-53.
2. F. J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson, Management and the Worker (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1939), pp. 272 ff.
3. Mary Grace Arthur, A Point Scale of Performance Tests (New York: Commonwealth Fund,
4. F. L. Goodenough, Measurements of Intelligence by Drawings (New York: World Book Co.,
5. F. Kuhlmann, "The Kuhlmann-Anderson Intelligence Tests Compared with Seven Others,"
Journal of Applied Psychology, XH (1928), 545-94.
6. Kilton Stewart, "Test of Emotional Response" (MS).
7. A. Bavelas, "A Method for Investigating Individual and Group Ideologies," Sociometry, V (1942),
8. Henry A. Murray, Thematic Apperception Test Manual (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
9. Bruno Klopfer and Douglas McG. Kelley, The Rorschach Technique (New York: World Book
10. Grace Arthur gave her Performance Scale to a group of Indian children from various tribes who
were students at Haskell Institute. About 250 Rorschach protocols had been collected from four Indian
tribes (A. Irving Hallowell, "The Rorschach Method as an Aid in the Study of Personalities in Primitive
Societies," Character and Personality, IX , 237). Stewart's Emotional Response Test had been
used extensively by the originator among non-European peoples, but the findings have never been
AGGRESSION IN PERSONALITY
"Aggressive" is a term often applied to the Sioux character and even to the culture itself.
For this reason, and because the word is used with widely varying connotations in psycho-
logical and sociological literature, it is necessary to explain its use in this monograph.
Aggression as used here, following Kardiner, 1 is the attitude, emotional reaction, and
behavior directed toward a person or object that causes pain or interferes with the gratifica-
tion of some need or desire. Types of aggression may be differentiated according to its stimulus
which sets the drive in action, die specific behavior which takes place, and the goal. The
somatic sources of the drive have not yet been identified, but the energy underlying aggression
as self-assertion or self-expression appears to be characteristic of all humans. In the face of in-
terference or frustration, this energy is "directed in an active way toward another object in
order to establish over it some form of mastery or control; to subject it to ends of utility and
pleasure." When this self-assertion achieves mastery, it is well-organized aggression; but,
when mastery is blocked before the individual gains satisfaction, aggression becomes dis-
organized. There is, then, satisfactory and unsatisfactory aggression. Satisfactory aggression
is very often socially approved; some self-assertive activities, such as aggressive salesmanship,
can achieve success because they are tolerated or encouraged. Other types of aggression are
controlled or punished by society.
It is this point of satisfactory and unsatisfactory, approved and unapproved, aggression
which needs to be clarified to understand the aggressive behavior of the Dakota. In the
account of Dakota child-training and cultural objectives, it was said that Dakota parents en-
couraged self-assertiveness in their boys for later aggressions against enemy tribes (see chaps,
iv and ix) . It may be said that the initial cause or interference that provoked Dakota aggres-
siveness was the threat of other tribes to the Dakota hunting grounds and subsistence and
thus to their security. But the secondary social stimuli became the more potent force.
Aggressive behavior was embodied in the warlike conduct expected of Dakota men. The
object or goal was die prestige and satisfaction afforded warriors by the men's societies, the
positions of leadership, and the esteem of the people.
From the Dakota point of view, the aggression of their men was useful and gratifying and
served to master others outside their group. Aggression was thus socially approved. This is
the distinction which must be emphasized about the essential nature of Dakota aggression
before warfare was barred to them and they were forced to accept reservation life.
It is not difficult to appreciate how a people trained to be aggressive in war and expecting
rewards of social success and high status should have difficulty in finding release and satis-
faction for all the energy they desired to express when warfare was cut off. They had to find
other channels and targets for their highly developed aggressive drive. Added to this major
obstacle were all the frustrations of governmental control, pressure to abandon Dakota life
for white civilization, and the seeming betrayal by some individuals who gave up Dakota
customs. The energy accumulated from cultural stimuli and from^ reactions to obstacles pre-
sented by white domination was directed into destructive activity against members of the
tribe and against the officials who represented the government. This behavior, which is now
characteristic of much of present-day Dakota activity, takes many direct and obvious, as well
as many indirect and obscure, forms which are described in the study. Since it is not socially
approved, it brings slight prestige rewards; being disorganized, it brings little real satisfaction
to the individual.
Because the nature and social value of Dakota aggression in the former culture differ so
greatly from the aggression so common among them today, the term "aggression" has been
qualified when used in this study. The culturally approved aggression of the Dakota is re-
ferred to in the text as "self-assertion" or "striving aggression"; the attacking, destructive
behavior is referred to as "hostility" or "hostile aggression."
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Students' Handboo^ Oglala Community High School, 1942-43. Chilocco, Okla.:
Chilocco School Press, 1942.
[U.S.] GREAT PLAINS COMMITTEE. The Future of the Great Plains: Report of the Great
Plains Committee. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1936.
USEEM, JOHN; MACGREGOR, GORDON; and USEEM, RUTH. "Wartime Employment and Cultural
Adjustments of the Rosebud Sioux," Applied Anthropology, II (1943), 1-9.
WALKER, J. R. The Sun Dance and Other Ceremonies of the Oglala Division of the Teton
Dakota. "Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History," Vol. XVI,
Part II. New York: The Museum, 1917.
WARNER, W. LLOYD, and LUNT, PAUL S. The Social Life of a Modern Community. "Yankee
City Series," Vol. I. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1941.
WISSLER, CLARK. North American Indian of the Plains. "Handbook Series," No. 1. New York:
American Museum of Natural History, 1934.
. Societies and Ceremonial Associations of the Oglala Division of the Teton-Da\pta.
"Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History," Vol. XI, Part I.
New York: The Museum, 1912.
Acculturation, 26-27, 33, 35
Adjustment: in school, 134-35; of students on the
reservation, 149; of students off the reservation,
Adolescence, 139-52; boys' behavior, 194-95;
girls' behavior, 195-98, 208
Age differences, 207
Agencies: Pine Ridge, 32, 53, 72; Red Cloud,
32, 53; Whetstone, 32, 35
Agency controls, 120
Agent; see Superintendents
Aggression, 137-38, 153-83, 190, 194, 197-98,
Allotments, 37, 38, 39-40, 44
American Horse, Chief, 66
Analysis, case outline, 218
Animals: attitudes toward, 190, 194, 197, 206;
as gifts, 127; training with, 127, 131
Anxiety, 44, 155; children's, 191, 206-7
Arthur, Grace; see Tests
Assimilation; see Acculturation
Attitudes, 12, 25, 26; of adults, 190-91; toward
animals, 190; children's toward school, 132,
146; of oldest generation, 105-9; of parent
generation, 10911; toward property, 127; to-
ward religion, 102; toward reservation, 148-
52; toward social structure, 198-202; white,
83, 120-21, 123
Avoidance, 63; breakdown of, in school, 144;
brother-sister, 131; see also Relationships
Bands, 37, 52, 66
Batesland, South Dakota, 40
Bavelas, A.; see Tests, Moral Ideology
Beatty, Willard W., 152
Behavior, 54; age and sex differences in, 117,
137, 195-98; children's, 153, 184-202, 204-9;
Dakota pattern of, 153-56; in relation to social
structure, 198-202; in school, 135
Benedict, Ruth, 104
Bennett County, 44
Big Stone Lake, Minnesota, 29
Biology, factors of, in personality, 184
Black Hills, 22
Blauch, Lloyd E., 78, 84
Blue Earth River, Minnesota, 29
Brothers, 59, 139; in relation to brothers, 139,
198; in relation to sisters, 1^1
Brule (subtribe), 21; history of, 29-30, 37, 53
Carlisle Institute, 35, 106, 108
Cattle: early raising of, 35, 37-38; loss of, 27,
39, 110; re-establishment of, 41
Ceremony, 87-91; Buffalo, 94; ear-piercing, 89,
94, 106; give-away, 89, 107, 113-14; keeping
of ghost, 94; religious, 87-91; see also Death,
Marriage, Peyote cult
Chappie, Eliot D., 203
Cheyenne, 30, 31
Chiefs, 35-37, 53
Children: adolescence, 139-52; ceremonies of,
89; health of, 187-88; infancy, 123-30; peyote
and, 101; psychological behavior of, 184-202,
Christianity; see Religion
Churches, 68, 69, 96-98, 100-102; Catholic
72, 96; Episcopal, 35, 96; Presbyterian, 96
Civilian Conservation Corps, 40-41, 211
Communities: reservation, 6678, 212; white,
Competency Commission, 39
Competition, 113, 135
Conflict, 29, 64, 105-21; full-blood-mixed-blood,
147; religious, 93, 109, 113, 121; reservation
and school, 134, 146-50
Controls: agency, 120; over children, 128, 132,
135, 154; social, 53; by superintendent, 35-36,
Coon, Carleton S., 203
Cowboy, attraction to Indian, 108
Crazy Horse, Chief, 31
Creamer, Daniel, 51
Crook, General, 38
Culture, in personality, 184-86; see also Dakota
Custer, General, 21, 31, 33, 38
Custom, suppression of native, 3536
WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Dakota, 21, 22, 27; effects of reservation life on,
153; history of,. 29-36, 41, 53
Death: ceremonies, 94-96; children's concern
Densmore, Frances, 103-4, 122
Discipline, school, 144-46; see also Controls
Disorganization, effects of, 105-21; individual,
District, 68, 74-77
Divisions: agency, 79-81; biological, 25; cultural,
25, 29; political, 25; sociological, 25, 26
Dress, children's, 128-30
Economy, 40, 0-45, 149, 211
Education: boarding schools, 142-48; for change,
35, 36, 57; early schools, 35, 37; of girls, 58;
methods of, 132-33; objectives of, 132, 142-44,
214; of parents, 109; value of, 200-201
Eggan, Fred, 64
Emotional Response Test; see Tests
Emotions, general patterns, 188, 189-202
Employment: children's attitude toward, 201-2;
Environment, social, 205, 209
Erikson, Erik H., 14, 26, 122, 130, 183
Escape, 137, 146-48, 153-55, 195, 207
Ewers, John C., 41
Family: biological, 56-60; break-up of, 68, 116-
17; child's attitude toward, 192, 193, 198-99,
205-6; conjugal, 62-64; extended, 60-62, 67;
as source of security, 194, 197
Father, 57, 109; and son, 139, 199
Fear, girl's, 140
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 31
Fort Robinson, Nebraska, 32
Full-blood communities, 66
Gall, Chief, 32
Games, 133, 143, 191
General Allotment Act, 78
Generation: oldest, 105-9; parent, 109-15
Generosity: of boys, 194: training for, 126-27;
see also Ceremony, give-away
Gessner, Robert, 42
Ghost Dance, 33
Give-away: see Ceremony
Gods, Dakota, 87
Goodenough Draw-a-Man Test; see Tests
Government: federal, 78-81; policy of, 117-21;
Government assistance: federal, 48-49; state, 48
Grandparent, 60, 105-7, 199
Harney, General, 21, 31
Hassrick, Royal B., 8, 13, 64, 103
Havighurst, Robert, 141, 203, 217
Health, 123, 211, 215; concern for, 155, 191-92;
of Dakota children, 187; standards of, 203; see
Henry, William E., 8, 13, 218
History, 21-28, 29-41, 210; see also Life-histories
Hopi, 9, 15
Horses, 39, 45
Hulsizer, Allan, 42, 152
Hyde, George, 41, 64
Impulses, 204, 209
Income, 40, 45, 49-50
Indian Education Research Project, 8-10, 187
Indian Reorganization Act, 44, 50, 71, 81
Insecurity, 109, 121, 153, 155-56, 194-95, 205-6
Intelligence: of Dakota children, 186-87; of
Hopi and other tribes, 187
Interviews, method of, 215, 217
Joking, between in-laws, 55, 64
Joseph, Alice, 15, 203
Kardiner, Abram, 221
Klopfer, Bruno, 219
Kluckhohn, Clyde, 15
Kuhlmann, F., 219
Kuhlmann- Anderson Intelligence Test; see Tests
Kyle, 10, 67, 68, 70
Land, attitude toward, 112
Laws, governing Indians, 79, 84
Leadership: suppression of native, 35, 68; young
Leighton, Dorothea, 14, 15, 130, 203, 217
Life-histories, 156-83, 218
Little Wound, Chief, 67
Little Wound School, 75
Lowie, Robert H., 103
McGillicuddy, Julia B., 22, 42
McGillicuddy, Valentine, 33
Marriage, 62-63, 93, 94, 96
Martin, South Dakota, 40, 74
Medicine men, 86, 89, 91
Medicine Root Creek, 70
Medicine Root District, 75
Mekeel, Scudder, 14, 64, 77, 104, 105, 122
Method, 9, 11; in child-training, 127-28; used in
Mille Lacs, Minnesota, 29
Mirsky, Jeanette, 64-65, 122
Missionaries, 37; see also Church
Missions, 72, 96-98, 152
Mixed-blood communities, 62-72
Mixed-blood homes, 73
Mixed-bloods, 23, 25
Moral Ideology Test; see Tests
Morality, 106-7; sexual, 108; see Virtues
Mother, 57-58; and daughter, HO; and son, 139,
Murray, Henry A., 219; see also Tests, Thematic
Navaho, 9, 15
Office of Indian Affairs, 79
Officers; see Chiefs, Tribal council
Oglala (subtribe), 21, 37, 53; history of, 29-30
Oglala Community High School, 72, 142, 152
Ohio Valley, 29
Omaha (tribe), 29
Oregon Trail, 31
Organization, social, of the Dakota, 52-54
Papago, 9, 15
Personality, 184-212; Dakota pattern of, 204;
definition of, 184-86; and effect of environ-
ment, 211; group, 184; and health, 187;
nature of, 11-12
Peyote cult, 100-102
Pine Ridge, 10, 72-73; establishment of reserva-
tion at, 32
Platte River, Nebraska, 31
Play: children's, 128; as training, 131
Playmates, 132, 194, 197; girls', 200
Police, agency, 35, 53, 119
Policy, Indian Service, 9, 36, 121, 212
Pregnancy, protection of, 89
Rabbit Dance, 25
Range, bombing, 70
Rations, 35, 37-39, 48, 106
Red Cloud, Chief, 31, 54
Red Cloud Agency, 32, 53
Red Shirt Table, 212
Relationships: affection, 55; boy-girl, 140; child-
parent, 56-58; importance of, 54; respect, 55,
56, 63; see also Family, Kinship
Relief, 48-49, 81, 120; see also Rations
Religion: Christian, 91-98; Dakota, 85-91, 100;
people's, 106; see also Churches
Reser\ation life, 148-52
Reservations: Great Sioux, 21, 31, 37; Pine Ridge,
Respect; see Relationships
Responses, from tests, 190, 200, 204-9
Rites of passage, 94, 96
Roberts, W. O., 13, 42
Roethlisberger, F. J., 219
Rorschach; see Tests
School, attitudes toward, 146; see also Education
Schwarz, Charles F., 51
Selective Service Act, 79
Sex: adolescent relations, 147; behavior of boys,
194-95; code, 93, 117-18; differences in child,
207; see also Avoidance
Shamans; see Medicine men
Shame, 132,- 137, 147,154
Shirt Wearers, 53
Sioux, 9; study of, 10-13, 21; see also Dakota
Sioux Benefit Fund, 48, 50
Sisters, 59, 140, 199
Sitting Bull, Chief, 32
Societies: of Oglala, 53; police, 53; in Sun
Standing Bear, Luther, 42, 106
Sterner, Armin H., 152
Stewart, Kilton, 219
Stewart, Omer, 104
Sun Dance, 87, 88-91; prohibition of, 32, 52
Superintendents: early, 35, 41; Indian name for,
Suppression: as child's behavior, 135-37; results
of, 154, 156
Swanton, John R., 41
Talking, child's first, 125-26
Tchi-tchi man, 191
Tests, 9, 184-202, 204-9, 215-19; analysis of,
217; Grace Arthur Point Performance Scale,
186-87; Emotional Response, 189-90, 199,
202; Goodenough Draw-a-Man, 186-87;
Moral Ideology, 189-90, 199, 202, 203, 207;
psychological, 215-16; Rorschach Psychodiag-
nostic, 205; table of, 217; Thematic Appercep-
tion, 204; validity of, 217
Thematic Apperception Test; see Tests
Thompson, Laura, 15, 203
Thunder Bull, Chief, 67
Thunder Bull Community, 67-68
WARRIORS WITHOUT WEAPONS
Tiyospave, 52, 53; basis of communities, 66, 116
Traders, 22, 70, 201
Training of children, 123-30, 131-38, 139-52;
with animals, 127; early, 126; in regard to
property, 127; toilet, 126
Tribal constitution, 75
Tribal council, 68, 81
Tribal court, 81, 119, 145
Tribe, Teton-Dakota: government of, 53; or-
ganization of, 53
Undernutrition, 183, 211
University of Chicago, 9, 10
Useem, John, 50, 152
Useem, Ruth, 50, 152
Values, 105; in child -training, 127, 131, 135; of
community program, 213-14; white, 108; see
Virtues, Dakota, 106-8
Wage work, 45-47, 49-50; attitude toward, 110-
12; school graduates in, 149
Walker, J. R., 88, 103
Walking, children's first, 125
Wanblee, South Dakota, 10, 40, 74
Warner, W. Lloyd, 14, 219
Wasicu, 116, 122
White Buffalo Maiden, 65, 87, 108
White Clay, 83
White Clay Creek, 32, 33
White River, 21, 69
Whites, 78-84; attitudes of, 83-84; resident, 81
Wissler, Clark, 42, 64, 104
Withdrawal; see Escape
Women, position of, 118-19
Wounded Knee, 33
Yuwipi, 98-99, 102-3
Zuni, 9, 15
WASHA8AUGH I |
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, BENNETT ! ,
County line -
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION